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Acute geriatrics report 2023

The acute geriatrics report is published annually and provides an overview of the past year for Austrian acute geriatric centres (inpatient facilities only) participating in the benchmarking initiative. The report for 2023 is now available.
Ein Physiotherapeut unterstütze einen älteren Mann beim Training mit einer Hantel.

Acute geriatric facilities help older people to live independently and mobile at home for longer. Photo: iStock

Acute geriatrics as an interdisciplinary care facility is usually located within a hospital. These facilities are becoming increasingly important, especially for older people who are on the threshold between independence and the need for care. If, for example, they are acutely ill and have suffered a broken bone as a result of a fall, the aim of acute geriatrics is to strengthen them functionally and make them mobile again so that they can return to their familiar surroundings. The Acute Geriatrics Report 2023 by HEALTH, the Institute of Biomedical Research and Technologies at JOANNEUM RESEARCH, shows that this is successful for more than 91 per cent of people who previously lived at home.

The aim of the report is to visualise the treatment quality of this interdisciplinary form of care, to provide information about this form of care and its patients and to provide a status report on Austrian acute geriatric care centres.

All analyses refer to the inpatient cases of the 13 participating Austrian acute geriatric clinics that were uploaded to the JOANNEUM RESEARCH benchmarking system. This has been in operation since 2008. It was developed in cooperation with the QiGG association (Quality in Geriatrics and Gerontology). A total of almost 7000 cases were recorded in 2023.

Reasons for a stay in acute geriatrics

Patients were most frequently admitted to an acute geriatric facility due to the diagnoses T93 (consequences of injuries to the lower extremities) and S72 (fracture of the femur). Compared to the previous year, significantly more patients were admitted due to a disease of the respiratory system (J00-J99). In more than 50% of cases, admission to acute geriatrics takes place within 2 weeks of the acute event. On average, patients suffer from around 8 functional disorders on admission and most often stay in the acute geriatric ward for between 15-21 days. Over the course of their stay, patients improve by an average of 15 points on the Barthel Index. The Barthel Index estimates the patient's ability to help themselves and assumes values between 0 (in need of care) and 100 (independent). Around 72% of patients who required two people to help them transfer from bed to chair on admission only need one person to help them on discharge. Around 54% of patients who required one carer on admission no longer require any assistance on discharge.

To summarise, it can be said that this form of care with its interdisciplinary approach does an excellent job and will play an increasingly important role in the present, but especially in the future.

The report was published on Zenodo and can be downloaded here.

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