General practitioner follow-up in older patients after an emergency department admission

This paper of a study looking at the interface between emergency departments and general practice in older people was published in Australian Family Physician. (PDF)

Watson B, Tam CWM, Pellizzon B, Ban L, Doan H. General practitioner follow-up in older patients after an emergency department admission. Australian Family Physician 2017 7/01;46:521-6.

Abstract

Background

Few studies have investigated older patients with regards to general practice follow-up after an emergency department (ED) admission. We measured the proportion of older patients given explicit general practice follow-up instructions who sought care by day seven after an ED admission.

Methods

Patients discharged from Fairfield Hospital ED (south-western Sydney) who were 65 years and older were approached for a structured telephone interview. Data from the interview and patients’ ED discharge summaries were analysed descriptively. Exploratory statistical analyses were conducted to identify potential explanatory factors.

Results

Fifty patients participated in the study. Most participants (76%) attended general practice follow-up by day seven. Those with more relatives who could be called on for help were more likely to attend the follow-up appointment (P = 0.003). Participants who were not married (54% versus 84%) and non-drivers (53% versus 90%) were less likely to attend for follow-up.

Discussion

Close family support and car transport might influence general practice follow-up in older people. Further exploration of contributing factors may be warranted.

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