To examine factors that may influence the risk of discharge to a residential aged care facility (RACF) in a population of frail older inpatients.
We analysed data from 5846 inpatients aged over 60 years from 27 hospitals in Queensland, Australia, admitted from independent living and referred for geriatric consultation. Patients underwent an interRAI Acute Care Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment by trained nurses. Frailty was assessed using a 52-item frailty index (FI). Risk/protective factors were determined a priori. Logistic regression assessed the relationship between factors and discharge destination, adjusted for FI, age, sex and hospital. Frailty × risk/protective factor interactions were performed.
Patients had a mean (SD) age of 79.7 (8.2) years and a mean (SD) FI of 0.44 (0.14). Twenty-nine per cent (n = 1678) of patients were discharged to an RACF. Each 0.1 increment in FI increased the risk of discharge to an RACF by 54% (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.40–1.68, p < 0.01). Being married or in a de facto relationship had protective effects up to an FI of 0.7, whereas behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) increased the risk of RACF discharge up to an FI of 0.7. Female sex, faecal incontinence and living alone did not influence the relationship between frailty and discharge destination.
The association between frailty and discharge to RACF has previously been recognised but here we found that risk and protective factors can influence this association. Whether early identification and management of mutable factors can reduce discharge to RACF should be addressed in future studies.