The findings of a census of Day Therapy Centres and their care recipients across Australia are presented in a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Day Therapy Centre Census 2002, conducted by AIHW for the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing over four weeks in October/November 2002, presents data on the characteristics of care recipients who received therapy during that period, the types of care received and how it was delivered, as well as information about the Day Therapy Centres themselves.
The Day Therapy Centre (DTC) Program is an Australian Government funded program which subsidises a range of therapies primarily to frail or disabled older people living in the community, and to residents of Australian Government funded residential aged care.
Services offered by the centres aim to assist care recipients - 90% of them aged over 65 - to either maintain or recover a level of independence that will allow them to remain either in the community or in low level residential care.
Ann Peut, Head of the Ageing and Aged Care Unit at AIHW, said that care recipients could access a variety of services at the centres and were referred to the DTCs for assistance with a range of conditions.
'The results of the census show that people were most commonly referred to the centres for treatment for musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis or back problems, skin conditions including bedsores, ulcers, corns and calluses, diabetes related problems, and lifestyle problems related to diet and eating habits and lack of physical exercise.
'In terms of the types of care prescribed to treat these problems, nearly half of care recipients, or 46%, received podiatry services and roughly one-third, or 34%, were given physiotherapy.
'The high percentage of care recipients receiving podiatry therapy probably reflects the importance of proper foot care in maintaining mobility, particularly for people with diabetes or other peripheral circulation problems.'
The other main types of therapy offered by DTCs were diversional therapy, occupational therapy, nursing services, hydrotherapy and social work.
One-third of care recipients experienced substantial difficulties with at least one of the areas of self care, mobility and communication. A total of 7% were diagnosed with dementia and nearly half of all clients received assistance for less than 12 months.