Transfers from residential aged care facilities to the emergency department are reduced through improved primary care services: an intervention study

Australas J Ageing. 2010 Dec;29(4):150-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2010.00418.x.


Aim: To assess the impact of an enhanced primary care service for residential aged care facilities (RACF) on the transfer of patients from RACF to a hospital emergency department (ED).

Methods: A before-after study of an enhanced primary care service provided by experienced ED-based nurses under the governance of general practitioners. The intervention was analysed comparatively using standardised normal deviates and seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average models, complemented by qualitative assessment.

Results: There was a statistically significant reduction (17%, P < 0.001) in the number of transfers during the intervention period. This finding held when adjusting for the seasonality of ED referrals over a 4-year period. The intervention was highly valued by clinicians in RACF and ED.

Conclusion: Enhanced primary care services reduce the number of transfers to ED from RACF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Health Services for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Residential Facilities*