Characteristics of patients referred for assessment of decision-making capacity in the acute medical setting of an outer-metropolitan hospital – a retrospective case series
Keywords110308 Geriatrics and Gerontology
220106 Medical Ethics
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Abstract<b>Objectives</b>: To identify characteristics of older people referred for assessment of decision-making capacity in the acute hospital setting. <b>Methods</b>: A retrospective chart audit was undertaken of 98 consecutive medical inpatients referred for capacity assessments between February 2015 and August 2017 in an outer-metropolitan hospital. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and univariate analysis. <b>Results</b>: In this case series, 56% of patients had a diagnosis of dementia. Social isolation was common; 70% were not presently married and 63% had no community services. For 90% of patients, the referral was to determine the person’s capacity to make their own accommodation decisions - usually to return home on discharge. Of those with impaired capacity, 54% were discharged to residential aged care, whilst most who retained capacity were discharged home (73%). Those with impaired capacity were more likely to have a diagnosis of dementia and a prolonged length of stay (both p <.001).
Faculty of Law; Australian Centre for Health Law Research; School of Law