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released: 2 Jun 2011 author: AIHW media release

Older people leaving hospital: a statistical overview of the Transition Care Program in 2008-09 presents key statistics on the characteristics and services provided to older people who are eligible for residential aged care directly after discharge from hospital. The program aims to improve recipients' independence and functioning. At 30 June 2009 there were 2,228 places providing transitional care to older people leaving hospital. During 2008-09, around 12,600 individuals received just over 14,000 episodes of transition care.

ISSN 1329-5705; ISBN 978-1-74249-139-4; Cat. no. AGE 64; 52pp.; Internet only


The Transition Care Program (TCP) provides time-limited care to older Australians directly after discharge from hospital. It aims to improve recipients' independence and functioning while giving them, their families and carers time to think about long-term care arrangements. TCP care can last for up to 12 weeks; however, a further 6 weeks can be approved. This report presents statistics about TCP for the period 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.

Increased supply

  • There were just over 2,200 TCP places available at 30 June 2009, a rise of 13% since the same date in 2008 and a rise of 274% since 2005–06, the year that TCP began.

Over 12,600 people were admitted to TCP during 2008–09

  • While there were 2,200 places at 30 June 2009, the short-term nature of TCP meant that during 2008–09 about 12,600 people received help.
  • There were around 14,000 episodes of care, as about 10% of recipients needed more than one care episode.
  • Eighty-one per cent of available places were used.
  • Occupancy was highest in Major cities (83%) and decreased with increasing remoteness of the outlet providing care (Inner regional areas 82%, Outer regional 58% and Remote 50%).

Half of the 12,200 people that left TCP in 2008–09 returned to the community

  • Of those that left TCP during 2008–09:
    • Half returned to the community (35% with a community aged care service in place, and 15% with no service). Overall, the median length of stay for these people ranged from 8-11 weeks.
    • Just under one in five went to residential care (13% to high-care and 6% to low-care) and their median length of stay was about 6 weeks.
    • More than one in five returned to hospital (22%), and this group had a much shorter median length of stay in TCP (3 weeks).
    • A small proportion (9%) remained in TCP for longer than 12 weeks.
    • Overall, the median length of stay was 7 weeks.

Functional capacity improved for nearly three-quarters of people completing TCP treatment

  • For those completing treatment in TCP, the median Modified Barthel Index score was 76 at the beginning of care and 90 at the end of treatment (where 0 is fully dependent and 100 is fully independent).
  • Most people improved function while in TCP.
  • Of the 74% of episodes where recipients completed treatment, nearly three in four (75%) had improved functional capacity, nearly one in five (19%) maintained the existing level of function, while functional capacity deteriorated for 7%.
  • For one in twenty episodes (5%), recipients moved to another TCP provider, while one in 5 (22%) returned to hospital and for 2% the care recipients died.
  • Discharge destination after TCP usually related to the level of functioning.
  • Of those moving to another service outlet to continue their treatment, over one-third (37%) already had improved functioning, while 45% had deteriorated before that move. They had not reached their final functional level.

Recommended citation

AIHW 2011. Older people leaving hospital: a statistical overview of the Transition Care Program in 2008-09. Aged care statistics series no. 33. Cat. no. AGE 64. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 19 August 2017 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737419112>.

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