People with dementia in NSW more than twice as likely to be hospitalised

People with dementia in NSW have much higher hospitalisation rates than those without dementia, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

'People with dementia tend to be older than people without dementia and are also more likely to be women, but we have allowed for this in our analysis,' said AIHW spokesperson Brent Diverty.

The report, People with dementia in hospitals in New South Wales 2006-07, examines the characteristics of the 252,700 people aged 50 years and over who had at least one night in a New South Wales public hospital in 2006-07.

About 8% of these patients (20,800 people) had dementia.

'Around 26% of people with dementia aged 50 and over in New South Wales had at least one overnight stay in hospital that ended in 2006-07,' Mr Diverty said.

'This compares with 12% of people aged 50 and over without dementia.'

Hospital patients with dementia were more likely to have had more than one multiple-day hospital stay in a 12-month period than patients without dementia (62% and 43% respectively).

These stays were also generally longer than for patients without dementia-an average of 18 days compared to 9 days.

Admission to hospital due to non-dementia mental and behavioural disorders or conditions of the nervous system was more common among people with dementia than those without (14% compared with 5%).

People with dementia were also more likely to be admitted because of injury or poisoning (14% compared with 11%).

'A lower proportion of patients with dementia than those without dementia returned to living in the community on discharge from hospital-59% compared with 88%', Mr Diverty said.

Patients with dementia were more likely to return to living in residential care (22% versus 4%) or enter residential aged care (11% versus 2%).

The report is part of the Hospital Dementia Services Project. This project uses detailed data from NSW public hospitals to explore how hospital based aged care and dementia services can influence outcomes for people with dementia who are admitted to hospital.

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, 29 November 2012

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