Improving acute care services for older people

Susan E Kurrle
Med J Aust 2006; 184 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00310.x
Published online: 1 May 2006

A collaborative trial is needed

At a time when there is a widely held perception that older people, and particularly nursing home residents, are occupying acute care hospital beds at the expense of others,1 the article by Finn et al2 in this issue of the Journal is very pertinent. It describes the presentation, over a 6-month period, of a cohort of 541 patients from aged care facilities (nursing homes and hostels) to the emergency department of a large tertiary hospital, and notes that the substantial majority (87%) of these presentations were considered to be appropriate. These patients were acutely unwell (most having been so for less than 2 days) and required the investigations and expertise available in the emergency department for diagnosis and management. Sixty per cent of these patients required hospital admission and most (90%) survived to be discharged back to their aged care facility.

  • Susan E Kurrle

  • Rehabilitation and Aged Care, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Sydney, NSW.



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