Geriatric Rehabilitation in Israel: Assessment of Needs and In-Patient Services
J. Gindin, M.A. Clarfield, Z. Haklai, P. Zedaka, J. Brodesky, M. Davis
Geriatric Division, Kaplan-Hartzfeld Hospitals, Rehovot; Geriatric Wing, and Health Information and Computer Service, Israel Ministry of Health; Central Bureau of Statistics, Prime Minister's Office; Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem; and Health of the Elderly, Israel Center for Disease Control
Geriatric rehabilitation (GR) in Israel, which has not been thoroughly investigated, was examined by a subcommittee of the Committee on Health of the Elderly, in the Israel Center for Disease Control.
The needs of the elderly population for rehabilitational services were assessed and the existing services reviewed. A survey of GR beds, their geographic distribution, and the number of patients over 65 after CVA and hip fracture (the 2 main causes for GR need) was carried out. Data were gathered from records of the Ministry of Health and the Central Bureau of Statistics.
In 1994 there were 1,503 beds for active, long-term geriatric care in general and geriatric hospitals: 751 beds were assigned to rehabilitative geriatrics, and the rest to skilled-nursing geriatrics. A high concentration of beds was found in the geographical center of the country, in contrast to a small number in the periphery. Approximately 10,100 patients were hospitalized that year in rehabilitative geriatric and skilled-nursing wards.
There was considerable variation between services, as expressed in the wide range in average duration of hospitalization (from 12-269 days). Most of the beds for GR and skilled-nursing care beds were mixed in the geriatric wards together in the wards.
Limited services and public needs have led to the development of services outside the licensed and regulated settings, a process which has not yet been investigated. About 6,700 older patients were hospitalized during 1994 with a primary diagnosis of CVA. It has been estimated that 4,000 of them needed GR. 2,624 older patients died that year of CVA.
The increase in CVA prevalence between 1987 and 1994 was far greater than the increase in morbidity, in both the general and older populations. Nearly 4,000 elderly patients with a primary diagnosis of hip fracture, most of whom needed rehabilitation, were hospitalized in 1994. The total number of older patients who needed GR following CVA or hip fracture that year was set at 8,000. However, this figure is up to 30% lower than the actual rates, since the those 2 diagnoses include only 70% of total GR needs.
It is impossible to obtain a comprehensive picture of GR in Israel based only on currently available data. The subcommittee outlined areas to be thoroughly examined in-depth, including services and needs, as well as GR tools and processes and how to maintain the achievements of rehabilitation after discharge.