A comparative study of patients attending general practitioner and consultant day hospitals for the elderly in Clwyd is described. The general characteristics of both patient groups were similar. There were, however, differences in the types of illness represented: disorders of the nervous system, mainly strokes, comprised over one third (37 per cent) of the consultant day hospital cases; disorders of the musculoskeletal system, mainly osteoarthrosis, comprised nearly one third (29 per cent) of the general practitioner group. Over 70 per cent of patients attending both types of day hospital had been discharged within six months and most attended once or twice each week. Clinical evaluation on discharge showed that over 80 per cent of the patients in both types of hospital had shown improvement or had not further deteriorated during their period of attendance.
It is concluded that day hospital care in community hospitals, supervised by general practitioners, can make an effective contribution to total health care provision for the elderly.