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.