HealthDay News — Hospitalized older adults transferred to a long-term acute care (LTAC) hospital have poor survival, with more than one-third never returning home, according to a study published online Aug. 26 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Anil N. Makam, MD, from the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues examined the clinical course after admission to an LTAC hospital for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 years or older. Data were included for 14,072 hospitalized older adults transferred to an LTAC hospital.

The researchers found that median survival was 8.3 months and the 1- and 5-year survival rates were 45 and 18% , respectively. Fifty-three percent of participants never achieved a 60-day recovery following LTAC admission. Patients spent a median of 65.6% of their remaining life as an inpatient following LTAC admission. More than one-third of participants (36.9%) died in an inpatient setting, never returning home after admission to an LTAC. Overall, 30.9% received an artificial life-prolonging procedure and 1% had a palliative care consultation during the preceding hospitalization and index LTAC admission.

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“Given the exceedingly low rates of palliative care consultations and low penetration of hospice, future research is needed to examine unmet palliative care needs in this population,” the authors write.

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