APH 2000, 58, 7-21:

Characteristics of final institutionalisation of adult patients: Results of the Belgian Sentinel General Practitioners.

D. Devroey, V. Van Casteren, and J. De Lepeleire

Keywords: family practice, institutionalisation, sentinel surveillance 

The aim of this study was to estimate the number of final institutionalisations and to find out about the pre-existing diseases and housing conditions, the urgency and the procedure for institutionalisations.  

During 1994 143 Belgian Sentinel General Practitioners registered all institutionalisations in their practice. This network functions since 1979 and is representative, for the Belgian general practitioners. All patients were registered which were definitively placed in an institution.

During 1994 297 final placements were registered. Belgian general practitioners were involved in the institutionalisation of 1 % of the Belgian population aged 60 years old or over. Most of the patients were women and living alone. At the moment of the institutionatisation dementia was the most common disease for both genders but locomotor impairment was found in more than half of all women. The institutionatisations were mostly motivated by a need of assistance with the activities of daily living. A temporary hospitalisation was necessary in 60% of all institutionalisations. Two thirds of all patients were on a waiting list. The average length of these waiting lists was shorter in Wallonia than in Flanders. Home care services were consulted in 16% of all institutionalisations (27% in Wallonia and 12% in Flanders).

Long waiting lists, intermediate hospitalisation and a sense of guilt often hampered institutionalisations. As most of the institutionalisations were motivated by a need of assistance with the activities of daily living, these problems could be avoided if the assistance of home care services was encouraged.