This study investigated whether the benefits related to a geriatric hospital day program exceed the costs, using a cost-benefit analysis based on changes in functional autonomy (a means of measuring the ability to perform daily tasks). The latter was measured at admission and discharge to the geriatrics unit at Sherbrooke University. The study found that for each dollar invested in care, $2.14 of benefits were derived in terms of improvement in functional status. The report observes that a measurement of dollar benefits alone does not incorporate other important aspects for clients such as improvement in cognitive function, socialization, and well-being. As a result, the findings of a 118 per cent cost-benefit may in fact be the lower limit of the possible benefit of such hospitals. The authors also suggest health policy-makers will need to grapple with the issue of optimal length of stay for patients — too long or too short a stay may increase the costs and not the benefits.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.