The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has reported a substantial incresase in recent years in the number of admissions for palliative care in Australian hospitals.


According to the Trends in palliative care in Australian hospitals report, the number of palliative care admissions has increased by 56 per cent over from the 1999-2000 to 2008-2009 period.


‘There were more than 50,000 palliative care admissions in Australian hospitals in 2008-09,’ said AIHW spokesperson Mr Brent Diverty.


The average length of stay in hospital for palliative care admissions was 12.5 days per admission—almost four times longer than the average 3.2 days spent in hospital for all admissions.


Patients aged 75 years and over accounted for almost half of all palliative care admissions in 2008-09. Interestingly, 12% of those admitted were under 55 years old. Admission rates were higher among males, Indigenous Australians and those living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.


‘The majority of admissions for palliative care were due to cancer, with cancer the principal diagnosis in 60% of cases. When considering both principal and additional diagnoses, this percentage rose to 77%,’ Mr Diverty said.


The report can be found here