Admitted patients

Admitted patients are patients who undergo a public or private hospital’s formal admission process to receive treatment and/or care. The types of care provided include surgical care, medical care, intensive care, newborn care, rehabilitation care, palliative care, and mental health care.

Explore more details on the care provided to admitted patients via the links at the bottom of the page.

Impact of COVID-19 on hospital activity in 2019–20

Australia’s hospital system has played a significant role in managing and treating people with the coronavirus virus (COVID-19). Between January to June in 2020, there were over 2,600 hospitalisations involving a COVID-19 diagnosis. For hospitalisations where the patient had a COVID-19 diagnosis:

  • 25% had one or more comorbid chronic conditions
  • 8.6% of hospitalisations involving a COVID-19 diagnosis involved a stay in an Intensive care unit (ICU)
  • 5.3% received Continuous ventilatory support (CVS)
  • 4.0% had a separation mode indicating the patient died in hospital.

The COVID-19 pandemic also had a profound impact on hospital activity more generally. The range of social, economic, business and travel restrictions, including restrictions on some hospital services, and associated measures in other healthcare services to support social distancing in Australia resulted in an overall decrease in hospital activity.

In 2019–20, the number of hospitalisations in Australia decreased by 2.8% compared to 2018–19, whereas previous year-to-year changes indicated a consistent upward trend. More information about the impact of COVID-19 on hospital activity can be found on the Admitted patient activity page.

For additional data relating to the impact of COVID-19 on:

Admitted patients

All data in these visualisations are available for download in the Data & downloads section of the MyHospitals website.

Admitted patient care bookmark 1

There were 11.1 million hospitalisations in 2019–20. This was a 2.8% decrease since 2018–19 due to the impact of COVID-19 on hospital admissions.

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Admitted patient care bookmark 2

Males 0-14 and 55+ years were more likely to be hospitalised than females of similar age in 2019–20.

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Admitted patient care bookmark 3

There were 6.9 million same-day hospitalisations in public and private hospitals in 2019–20. There was a 4.1% decrease for private hospitals since 2018–19.

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Highlights

In 2019–20:

Prior to this, year-to-year changes indicated a consistent upward trend. Between 2014–15 and 2018–19, hospitalisations increased by 3.3%, on average, per year—3.7% per year in public hospitals and 2.6% per year in private hospitals.

Urgency of admission

Between 2018–19 and 2019–20:

  • hospitalisations with an urgency of admission of Emergency decreased by 2.8% in public hospitals and 3.3% in private hospitals
  • in private hospitals, Elective hospitalisations decreased by 6.2% compared to public hospitals which only decreased by 2.6%
  • Elective admissions involving surgery decreased by 6.6%—including 8.3% decrease in public hospitals and 5.7% decrease in private hospitals
  • procedures for Elective admissions involving surgery, Procedures on nose, mouth and pharynx decreased by 26%, Procedures on ear and mastoid process decreased by 14% and Dental services decreased by 12%.

The decrease in Elective admissions involving surgery was likely due to changes in behaviours and healthcare provision during the COVID-19 pandemic, including restrictions on non-urgent elective surgery. These effects varied between public and private hospitals.

How did types of hospital services vary?

In 2019–20:

Between 2018–19 and 2019–20:

  • hospitalisations for Rehabilitation decreased by 6.7% in public hospitals and 12% in private hospitals
  • hospitalisations for Mental health care decreased by 1.2% in public hospitals and increased by 0.9% in private hospitals. In comparison, between 2014–15 and 2018–19, hospitalisations for Mental health care increased by 4.7%, on average, per year in public hospitals and increased by 6.6%, on average, per year in private hospitals.

Who received hospital care involving a COVID-19 diagnosis?

In 2019–20, around 2,600 hospitalisations involved a COVID-19 diagnosis. Among these hospitalisations:

  • over half (51%) of hospitalisations involving a COVID-19 diagnosis were for patients aged 55 and over, and 65% were for patients aged 45 and over
  • 75% of hospitalisations involving a COVID-19 diagnosis were for people living in Major cities, compared to 13% in Inner regional areas 
  • 95% of hospitalisations involving a COVID-19 diagnosis were for non-Indigenous Australians and only 1.2% of hospitalisations were for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.