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Characteristics of patients referred for assessment of decision-making capacity in the acute medical setting of an outer-metropolitan hospital - A retrospective case series

  • Logan, Benignus
  • Fleury, Aisling
  • Wong, Lillian
  • Fraser, Sally
  • Bernard, Anne
  • White, Ben
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2020
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive


Objective: To identify characteristics of older people referred for assessment of decision-making capacity in the acute hospital setting. Methods: A retrospective chart audit was undertaken for 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 and univariate analysis. Results: 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 < 0.001).

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