A program of respite admission to a geriatric assessment unit was evaluated through a retrospective review of the medical records of 50 consecutive male respite patients.
The demographic and medical characteristics of these patients were examined and their hospital course was reconstructed. The correlates of several outcome variables were also examined. These included: 1) family response 2) the patient's condition at discharge and 3) the location of discharge.
The results indicate that although the program was appraised positively by family members, not all patients thrived during the admission and the condition of 22% deteriorated. Age and the incidence of a variety of intercurrent illnesses were among the most significant correlates of outcomes.
Finally, several recommendations are provided. These include the need for family counselling, following a pre-admission assessment, and the need for sound principles of geriatric management which can decrease the risk to the patient which appear to arise during a short-term respite admission.