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Disease burden, comorbidity and geriatric syndromes in the Australian aged care population

ABSTRACT

To describe the burden of disease in the Australian residential aged care population.Cross-sectional analysis of Aged Care Funding Instrument data.Dementia (48%), depression (22.5%) and arthritis (14.2%) were the most prevalent chronic diseases in this population. Unclassified conditions such as falls, pain and urinary incontinence were also significant burdens in this population (17.1%). Circulatory, musculoskeletal and unclassified conditions were the most prevalent comorbidities across all common medical groups. Dementia and depression were the most common comorbid mental health conditions across all medical groups.The challenges for evaluating clinical care in Australian residential aged care are many. Delivering good clinical care should be a priority for aged care providers given the high burden of chronic disease and comorbidity. An informative starting point could be to target management of the most prevalent and burdensome conditions and comorbidities.