Multidisciplinary care needs in an Australian tertiary teaching hospital

Timothy To, Owen Davies, Jackie Sincock, Craig Whitehead

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Background. The ageing of the Australian population is placing increasing demand on the nation's healthcare system. This study set out to describe the level of need for multidisciplinary care in an Australian tertiary hospital setting. Methods.A cross-sectional audit by case note review of all patients on acute medical and surgical wards in an Australian tertiary hospital. The primary outcome was an identified need for multidisciplinary assessment and intervention. Results. A total of 60% of the 295 inpatients audited required multidisciplinary care. Of those who were admitted to geriatric and rehabilitation units, 84% required multidisciplinary care. Patients in acute medical and surgical units also had substantial multidisciplinary care needs. Age was a significant influence with 79% of those aged 86 and above having multidisciplinary care needs, whilst only 38% of those aged 55 or less required multidisciplinary care. Difficulties with mobility, need for assistance with self-care, and continence problems were associated with higher requirement for multidisciplinary care. Conclusions.In the hospital population, significant multidisciplinary care needs exist. These needs are not limited to inpatients that are elderly or admitted to geriatric or rehabilitation units. This has implications for planning, funding, provision of health care resources, and training of medical and allied health staff. What is known about the topic? Multidisciplinary care is the collaboration of health care staff from a variety of disciplines. This approach has been attributed to reductions in mortality and the duration of length of stay in hospital. Multidisciplinary care is widely applied to older patients and those requiring rehabilitation. However, multidisciplinary care is less frequently adopted in other areas, suggesting that some patients requiring this approach may not receive it. What does this paper add? The findings of this study demonstrate that the need for multidisciplinary care extends beyond aged care and rehabilitation patients. Although the majority of aged care and rehabilitation patients required multidisciplinary care, a significant number of patients in medical and surgical units also needed this approach. What are the implications for practitioners? A need exists for a multidisciplinary approach to be utilised more widely in the hospital setting. Collaboration between allied health and medical staff may require consideration in the allocation of resources for patient care. This also has implications for the training of medical and allied health staff both now and in the future.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)234-238
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustralian Health Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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