Hospitalisations

Two measures of dental services provided in hospitals are reported in this section:

  • potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs)
  • hospitalisations for dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic.

There is some overlap between these two indicators. Many PPHs will require a general anaesthetic. However, not all dental care provided under general anaesthetic is for potentially preventable care.

Key terms

  • Potentially preventable hospitalisations—acute: Conditions that may not be preventable, but theoretically would not result in hospitalisation if adequate and timely care (usually non-hospital) was received.
  • Separations: The total number of episodes of care for admitted patients, which can be the total hospital stays (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or portions of hospital stays beginning or ending in a change of type care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation) that cease during a reference period. METeOR identifier: 270407.
  • Separation rate: The total number of episodes of care for admitted patients divided by the total number of persons in the population under study. Often presented as a rate per 1,000 or 10,000 members of a population. Rates may be crude or standardised.

Potentially preventable hospitalisations

Reducing the rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs) due to dental conditions is one of the Key Performance Indicators of the National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 (COAG Health Council 2015). Hospital separation rates for PPHs provide important information about the extent to which timely and adequate non-hospital dental care has been provided. The rate of PPHs for dental conditions is influenced by a number of factors including:

  • adequacy of preventive and primary care services
  • prevalence of severe dental disease in the community
  • availability and accessibility of appropriate community and hospital-based services (COAG Health Council 2015).

In Australia, the age-standardised rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) remained relatively stable between 2010–11 and 2016–17, ranging from 2.8 to 2.9 per 1,000 population.

  • In 2016–17, the age-standardised rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) was highest in South Australia (4.1 per 1,000 population) and lowest in the Australian Capital Territory (2.1 per 1,000 population).

Explore the number or rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions across Australia between 2010–11 and 2016–17 using the Hospitalisations interactive 1 below.

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In 2016–17, the rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) was higher for Indigenous people (4.6 per 1,000 population) than for Other Australians (2.8 per 1,000 population).

  • In 2016–17, the rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) was highest in those aged 5–9 years (9.5 per 1,000 population).
  • In 2016–17, the rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) increased as remoteness increased, ranging from 2.8 per 1,000 population in Major cities to 4.2 per 1,000 population in Very remote areas.

Explore the number or rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions by selected characteristics using the Hospitalisations interactive 2 below.

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Dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic

Some Australians receive dental care under general anaesthesia, usually due to the severity of the disease or other medical, physical, or behavioural complications. Dental care under general anaesthetic carries an additional risk and is resource intensive.

In Australia, the age-standardised rate of hospital separations for dental conditions requiring general anaesthetic (per 1,000 population) remained relatively stable between 2010–11 and 2016–17, ranging from 5.7 to 5.9 per 1,000 population.

  • In 2016–17, the age-standardised rate of hospital separations for dental conditions requiring general anaesthetic (per 1,000 population) was highest in Western Australia (7.5 per 1,000 population) and lowest in the Australian Capital Territory (3.4 per 1,000 population).

Explore the number or rate of hospital separations for dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic across Australia between 2010–11 and 2016–17 using the Hospitalisations interactive 3 below.

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In 2016–17, the rate of hospital separations for dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic (per 1,000 population) was highest in those aged 15–24 years (15.7 per 1,000 population).

  • In 2016–17, the rate of hospital separations for dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic (per 1,000 population) was lower in those from Very remote areas (4.6 per 1,000 population) compared with all other areas.

Explore the number or rate of hospital separations for dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic by selected characteristics using the Hospitalisations interactive 4 below.

Visualisation not available for printing

References

  • ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2012. Australian Demographic Statistics, September 2011. ABS cat. no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.
  • ABS 2013. Australian Demographic Statistics, December 2012. ABS cat. no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.
  • ABS 2014a. Estimates and Projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2001 to 2026. ABS cat no. 3238.0. Projection series B. Canberra: ABS.
  • ABS 2014b. Australian Demographic Statistics, December 2013. ABS cat no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.
  • ABS 2015. Australian Demographic Statistics, December 2014. ABS cat no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.
  • ABS 2016. Australian Demographic Statistics, December 2015. ABS cat no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.
  • ABS 2017. Australian Demographic Statistics, December 2016. ABS cat no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.
  • COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Health Council 2015. Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives: Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024. Adelaide: South Australian Dental Service.