Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Keeping care home residents out of hospital

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 26 January 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i458

Few doctors working in acute medicine get through an on-take shift without seeing patients brought by ambulance from care homes. If it’s distressing for us to witness, it’s much more so for them. Sometimes a short hospital visit may be in a care home resident’s interests, but often it’s not. A recent systematic review showed common avoidable harms associated with residents’ hospitalisation.1 A deeper analysis of hospital admissions in Ireland2 showed little added value for many residents.

The United Kingdom has about 20 000 nursing and residential homes (or “aged care facilities”) and 430 000 residents, …

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