Older people in hospital provides clinicians with evidence-based information and simple strategies to minimise the risk of functional decline for older people in hospital. It is underpinned by the principles of person-centred practice.
This resource is the third edition of the Best care for older people everywhere: the toolkit. It has been developed in collaboration with Victorian health services, the Clinical Leadership Group on Care of Older People in Hospital, the National Ageing Research Institute, and a number of subject matter experts.
The material included in Older people in hospital and the accompanying e-learning and audio visual resources are classified as informal learning opportunities. Professional health practitioners can choose to keep a detailed record of the number of hours spent on this site. This is classified as self-directed and Internet-based learning and contributes to the informal learning component of Continuing Professional Development required for ongoing accreditation.
National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards
Older people in hospital is closely aligned with and can assist organisations to meet the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards
Hospital Environment Audit Tool (HEAT)
The HEAT provides clinicians and other hospital staff with an evidence-based tool to audit their hospital and optimise the environment to best meet the needs of older people.
Assessment, communication and person-centred practice
Improving outcomes for older people in hospital requires good communication, assessment and person centred practice.
Cognition - dementia, delirium and depression
Cognitive impairment can place older people at greater risk of functional decline in hospital. Identifying, investigating and responding to the issue is important to prevent this.
Incontinence can be a sign that an older person is experiencing health conditions. Screening, assessment and intervention can improve their health in hospital and at home.
Falls, mobility and self-care
Older people presenting to hospital with a fall or mobility problems are at risk of functional decline. Identifying and responding to their needs is essential to preventing this.
Frailty is characterised by a decline in body functions and systems. It is associated with falls, long hospital stays, difficulty recovering and mortality.
Medicine use in older people is complex. It needs to be monitored and managed to avoid errors and adverse effects and to ensure the best outcomes.
Nutrition and swallowing
Nutrition and swallowing problems can cause functional decline in a older patient. Identifying, investigating and responding to these issues is important to prevent this.
Many older people in hospital experience pain but it is sometimes overlooked. Pain should be identified, assessed and managed.
Palliative approach to caring for older people
Palliative care shifts the focus from prolonging life to maximising quality of life and providing appropriate care to patients and their families.
Pressure injuries and skin tears
Skin can become more vulnerable to damage with age. Older people, especially those who are frail, are at risk of pressure injuries and skin tears.
Factsheets, implementation and clinical case studies, information on clinical handover, guardianship, least restrictive practice and health service initiatives, and information for consumers.
Part 1 - Functional decline
Older people and their families share their personal stories about the physical and emotional impact of being in hospital, particularly related to their loss of independence.
Part 2 - Person centred care
The experiences of older people and their families highlight why it is essential that we listen to them and work in partnership to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Part 3 - Best care for older people in hospital
Older people and clinicians describe how we can make a difference through communication, teamwork and using evidence based strategies.
The Older people in hospital publication and the information provided in connection with it is provided for general guidance only.
Organisations and individuals should always obtain specific legal or other professional advice, including medical advice, tailored to individual circumstances as needed.
The State of Victoria has made every reasonable effort to provide current and correct information, but it does not make any guarantees regarding the information. Further, no liability is accepted by the State of Victoria for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred as a result of reliance on this document, or any documents attached, referred to or linked to it.
To the extent that the publication and information provided in connection with it contains third party material, including external website links, pictures and information, the State of Victoria does not control and accepts no liability for the content of third party material or any loss arising from the use of third party material. The State of Victoria does not endorse third party material and does not warrant that third party material is accurate, authentic or complete.
Reviewed 25 October 2021