Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Standardised assessment of older patients by a nurse in an emergency department

David Basic, David Conforti and Jeffrey Rowland

Australian Health Review 25(4) 50 - 58
Published: 2002


The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of a nurse practitioner in geriatrics, working in the emergency department of a tertiary referral hospital, to assess high-risk elderly patients comprehensively. A secondary aim was to explore patient characteristics associated with referral to community aged care services. Of 469 patients assessed by the nurse, 327 (70%) were admitted to the hospital. A comprehensive set of data was obtained for 334 (71%) patients. For 142 patients not admitted, 163 new referrals were made, mostly to the Aged Care Assessment Team. Those referred were more likely to be living alone and non-English speaking. They were also less satisfied with the support they received from family and friends. A single nurse working in a busy emergency department can successfully identify patients with increased care needs, and direct high-risk patients to existing services.

© AHHA 2002

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