Healthcare professionals' experience with emergency department-based acute care performed within nursing homes

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BACKGROUND: hospital admissions of residents from nursing homes often lead to delirium, infections, mortality and reduced functional capacity. We initiated a new service, 'emergency department-based acute care service', maintained by consultants from an emergency department (ED) moving emergency care from the hospitals into nursing homes.

OBJECTIVE: this study explored healthcare professionals' experiences with this service.

DESIGN: qualitative semi-structured focus group discussions.

INTERVENTION/SETTING: the new service provides acute on-site evaluation and treatment to nursing home residents following calls to the emergency dispatch centre.

METHODS: we conducted focus groups with general practitioners, prehospital personnel, municipal acute care nurses, ED staff and nursing home staff. The analysis was performed using the iterative and explorative approach, 'systematic text condensation'.

RESULTS: the participants considered the service as a meaningful and appropriate alternative to hospital admission, as the treatment can be tailored to meet the residents' wishes and daily capabilities. This was experienced to promote dignity for the residents by reducing unnecessary transfers to the ED and the residents could remain in familiar surroundings with staff who knew their habitual behaviour and history. The nursing home staff contributed valuable information to the ED consultants' decision-making. The service made it possible to base the decision-making on complete patient pictures, as the ED consultants had the time to get to understand the residents.

CONCLUSION: acute care at nursing homes provides an alternative to routine admissions to hospitals and enables healthcare professionals to provide more dignity in the care of nursing home residents.

TidsskriftAge and Ageing
Udgave nummer8
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022

Bibliografisk note

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


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