This study followed the admissions of elderly patients aged 75 years and older to three Saskatoon hospitals over a nine-month period to undertake a “process and outcomes evaluation.” Researchers analyzed admissions, the need for acute care, the timeliness of discharge, the use of home care, and physicians’ perceptions of admission and discharge factors. For outcomes, the researchers analyzed the status of participants, including functional and disability measures, after the hospital episode; the caregiver burden; and the costs of all services. Data were collected on 967 patients, from a pool of 1,502 potential participants. This project conducted a census-like collection of data that systematically defines this elderly population and its characteristics, needs, care trajectories, and the appropriateness of care received by this population. The study is particularly revealing about the proportion of hospital days (11.8 per cent) in which this population remained in acute care beds when an alternative level of care (ALC) would have been appropriate. The home care findings were also revealing: 29 per cent of the sample received some home care after discharge, and 54 per cent of those people had received some home care before admission.
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.