Senior Friendly Hospital

Improving the health and wellbeing of seniors in hospital
Based on the ESC LHIN Senior Friendly surveys, seniors 65+ accounted for 66% of hospital days, 86% of Alternative Level of Care (ALC) days, 20% of emergency department (ED) visits and 59% of readmissions within 30 days, averaged between 2007-2010.

Seniors (age 65+) are three times more likely to be hospitalized than younger people and receive care in nearly every area of the hospital. A hospital stay can have a major influence on the health and wellbeing of seniors.

However, evidence shows that seniors’ health declines the longer they stay in hospital as a result of complications, lack of activity and infections. This can lead to longer hospital stays and reduce their chances of returning home and regaining their health and independence.

Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are leading a Senior Friendly Hospital strategy – an initiative to improve seniors’ health and prevent their physical and mental decline in hospital. By acting together, hospitals can improve the experience and outcomes of older adults in Ontario hospitals.

The Senior Friendly Hospital strategy aims to:

  • Improve the health, wellbeing and experience of seniors in Ontario hospitals, helping them get back home sooner and healthier.
  • Senior Friendly Hospital logo.jpgImprove seniors’ ability to live independently and stay out of hospital.
  • Enhance the value of health care dollars.
  • Help reduce ALC through supporting people to transition to the right place of care after a hospital stay.
  • Promote quality improvement initiatives that can be included in hospital Quality Improvement Plans as part of Excellent Care for All.

As a first step, each hospital assessed their successful seniors’ initiatives, and identified opportunities for improvement and action. All adult hospitals in Ontario have completed a Senior Friendly Hospital assessment. Summary reports for each LHIN were developed in collaboration with the Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario.

What’s next?

Later this summer, the LHINs will release a provincial report summarizing trends in senior friendly care across Ontario. Starting in 2011/12, hospitals will work together and with LHINs to advance actions to improve seniors care.

By spring 2012, the LHINs and hospitals will all adopt at least one indicator to measure improvements to seniors’ care as a result of this Strategy.

Additional information

From 2011-2031 Ontario will experience a growth in the number of seniors as baby boomers turn 65.

  • By 2036, seniors 65+ will make up 23.4% of population, a large jump from 13.7% in 2009.
  • Life expectancy of Ontarians is projected to increase from 83.1 years in 2006 to 87.8 years in 2036 for females and 78.8 years to 85.3 for males (Ministry of Finance, 2010).

Aging itself does not directly link to increased use of health services, however as we age we are more susceptible to multiple chronic conditions.

  • The majority (76%) of Canadian seniors reported having one or more chronic conditions, with 24% having 3 or more in 2007.
  • Seniors with three or more chronic conditions have a higher rate of polypharmacy and health care visits than seniors with no chronic conditions (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2001).
  • Complications of hospitalization such as deconditioning, pressure ulcers, delirium and dehydration/malnutrition can result in a loss of independence and decline in quality of life for seniors (Bongort, 2010).