Hospital services for older people

Acute care hospitals are an important safeguard for older Australians, because as we age we are prone to serious illness.

Who's at risk?

People aged between 65 and 75 are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital as the rest of the population, and those aged over 85 years are more than five times as likely to be admitted to hospital.

However, hospitalisation is a difficult time for older people in particularly those who have become frail and in need of help.

It is not uncommon for an older person to become more dependent or confused after hospitalisation. Modern hospital care should strive to avoid this deterioration but sometimes it can still happen.

Families and carers

Involvement of families and carers in their health care is important and welcomed by all hospital staff as this can help reorientate and reintegrate the older person after they have recovered from their illness.

Please go to the Hospital services page for more information about services in your areas.

Improving care for older people in hospital

We are committed to providing the best services and care to older people in hospital.

In 2017, SA Health identified five priority areas to improve the care of older people in hospital and ensure care is provided in the most appropriate location for a person’s condition. The priority areas include:

  1. Appropriate use of emergency departments and identifying alternatives to hospital admission where appropriate. This includes establishing a clinical resource and function in EDs, dedicated to optimising care and patient experience for older people.
  2. Improvements to care of older people at risk of or with cognitive impairment.
  3. Creating a printed document for patients to take home at the time of discharge. The “You Are Leaving Hospital” form (PDF 1MB) includes simple and easy to understand information a patient needs to continue their care once they leave hospital. In addition an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander version (PDF 573KB) has been created.
  4. Ensuring a discharge summary is provided to a person’s General Practitioner (GP) when they leave hospital.
  5. Collecting timely, relevant and accurate performance data to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Find out more about the priority areas in the video below.

Commencing 2018, these priority areas will be addressed by hospitals and services across South Australia to ensure we are providing the best possible care to older people in hospital.

Please go to the Hospital services page for more information about services in your area.

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