Nursing home (NH) patients are at a high risk of Emergency Department (ED) attendance, and adverse events in the ED. With an increasing NH population, monitoring trends in ED utilization is important to aid service planning, and attention to potentially preventable attendances should be paid, to identify areas that may benefit from specialist support.
This 12-year (2008-2019) study aimed to observe trends in ED utilization of NH patients in a single urban Irish catchment area, surrounding the introduction of a Community Medicine for the Older Person (CMOP) outreach program.
A retrospective review of all NH attendances within the catchment area was performed based upon NH address. Attendance, admission, discharge, and died in department (DID) were adjusted per annual NH bed numbers (PBC). Trends were observed and compared pre and post the CMOP activation. Comparisons of continuous variables were performed using an unpaired parametric Student’s t test.
There were 6877 attendances, with 58% (n = 3989) admitted, 40% (n = 2785) discharged, and 2% (n = 123) DID. There was a statistically significant difference in mean discharge rate PBC pre and post the CMOP introduction (0.22 vs 0.16, P = 0.04). There was no statistically significant difference in attendance, admission, or DID.
This is the first Irish study of NH ED utilization over an extended period. ED attendances PBC have not decreased since the introduction of the CMOP. Discharges PBC, however, have decreased and may represent a decrease in potentially preventable attendance/improvement in appropriateness of ED transfers, following the introduction of this intervention.