Feasibility of Using a Risk Assessment Tool to Predict Hospital Transfers or Death for Older People in Australian Residential Aged Care. A Retrospective Cohort Study

Healthcare (Basel). 2020 Aug 21;8(3):284. doi: 10.3390/healthcare8030284.


Residents of Aged Care Facilities (RACF) experience burdensome hospital transfers in the last year of life, which may lead to aggressive and potentially inappropriate hospital treatments. Anticipating these transfers by identifying risk factors could encourage end-of-life discussions that may change decisions to transfer. The aim was to examine the feasibility of identifying an end-of-life risk profile among RACF residents using a predictive tool to better anticipate predictors of hospital transfers, death or poor composite outcome of hospitalisation and/or death after initial assessment. A retrospective cohort study of 373 permanent residents aged 65+ years was conducted using objective clinical factors from records in nine RACFs in metropolitan Sydney, Australia. In total, 26.8% died and 34.3% experienced a composite outcome. Cox proportional hazard regression models confirmed the feasibility of estimating the level of risk for death or a poor composite outcome. Knowing this should provide opportunities to initiate advance care planning in RACFs, facilitating decision making near the end of life. We conclude that the current structure of electronic RACF databases could be enhanced to enable comprehensive assessment of the risk of hospital re-attendance without admission. Automation tools to facilitate the risk score calculation may encourage the adoption of prediction checklists and evaluation of their association with hospital transfers.

Keywords: advance care planning; end of life; hospital transfers; residential aged care; risk factors.