Transition Care Program helps improve functioning and independence for older people leaving hospital

Almost half of all older people who left hospital and received assistance through the Transition Care Program (TCP) returned to the community in 2010-11, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Older people leaving hospital: a statistical overview of the Transition Care Program 2009-10 and 2010-11, presents recent statistics and examines some emerging trends.

TCP has been operating since 2005-06, and provides short-term care to older people who would be assessed as otherwise eligible for at least low-level residential care as they leave hospital. It aims to improve clients' independence and functioning and delay entry into residential aged care.

The report shows that of the people who received any care under the program in 2010-11, 56% had improved functioning during their care and more than 8,400 (49%) returned to the community.

A further 19% of recipients entered residential care, 23% returned to hospital and 2% died.

'The number of people receiving care as part of the program increased from about 15,000 in 2009-10 to about 18,000 in 2010-11,' said AIHW spokesperson Brent Diverty.

'Overall, looking at those who completed their planned care, about 75% had improved functional capacity afterwards. A further 17% maintained their existing level of function, while functional capacity deteriorated for 8% of recipients.

'Over the six years since its introduction, more than 60% of recipients left the program with an improved level of functioning.

'And since 2005-06, the proportion of care recipients who returned to the community has been about 54% overall.'

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 5 December 2012

Further information: Mr Brent Diverty, AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5096, mob. 0407 915 851