Multidisciplinary care needs in an Australian tertiary teaching hospital

Aust Health Rev. 2010 May;34(2):234-8. doi: 10.1071/AH08672.


Background: The ageing of the Australian population is placing increasing demand on the nation's healthcare system. This study set out to describe the level of need for multidisciplinary care in an Australian tertiary hospital setting.

Methods: A cross-sectional audit by case note review of all patients on acute medical and surgical wards in an Australian tertiary hospital. The primary outcome was an identified need for multidisciplinary assessment and intervention.

Results: A total of 60% of the 295 inpatients audited required multidisciplinary care. Of those who were admitted to geriatric and rehabilitation units, 84% required multidisciplinary care. Patients in acute medical and surgical units also had substantial multidisciplinary care needs. Age was a significant influence with 79% of those aged 86 and above having multidisciplinary care needs, whilst only 38% of those aged 55 or less required multidisciplinary care. Difficulties with mobility, need for assistance with self-care, and continence problems were associated with higher requirement for multidisciplinary care.

Conclusions: In the hospital population, significant multidisciplinary care needs exist. These needs are not limited to inpatients that are elderly or admitted to geriatric or rehabilitation units. This has implications for planning, funding, provision of health care resources, and training of medical and allied health staff.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged