Resident transfers from aged care facilities to emergency departments: can they be avoided?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Emergency medicine Australasia : EMA, 2015, 27 (5), pp. 412 - 418
Issue Date:
2015-10
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Residents from aged care facilities make up a considerable proportion of ED presentations. There is evidence that many residents transferred from aged care facilities to EDs could be managed by primary care services. The present study aimed to describe the characteristics of residents transferred from residential aged care facilities to EDs, and to evaluate the appropriateness and cost of these presentations.A retrospective review of ED records was undertaken for residents transferred from residential aged care facilities to two EDs in Melbourne, Victoria, in 2012. Data examined included residents' mode and time of arrival to ED, presenting complaint, triage category, procedures within ED, diagnosis, length of stay, and disposition. Data were examined against a previously established tool to identify resident transfers that might be 'potentially avoidable'.There were 2880 resident transfers included in the sample, of which 408 transfers were randomly selected for scrutiny of documentation. Seventy-one residents (17.4%) were identified as being potentially avoidable transfers.Many resident transfers might have been avoided with better primary care services in place. Future strategies to improve resident care might include aged care staff skill mix and the availability of outreach or primary care services.
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