Extended use of point-of-care technology versus usual care for in-home assessment by acute community nurses in older adults with signs of potential acute respiratory disease: an open-label randomised controlled trial protocol

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Due to ageing-related physiological changes, diagnosing older adults is challenging. Delayed disease recognition may lead to adverse health outcomes and increased hospitalisation, necessitating the development of new initiatives for timely diagnosis and treatment of older adults. Point-of-care technology, such as focused lung ultrasound scan and bedside analysis of blood samples (leucocytes with differential count, electrolytes, and creatinine) conducted in the patients' home, may support clinical decision-making, and potentially reduce acute hospital admissions. We present the protocol for a randomized controlled trial, which aims at assessing the effect of focused lung ultrasound scan and bedside blood analysis during in-home assessments among older adults with signs of potential acute respiratory disease on hospital admissions.

METHOD: We will use a parallel open-label, individually randomised controlled trial design in an acute community healthcare setting. The trial will initiate on October 2022 and is expected to end one year later. The study population will include older adults (65 + year), with at least one of the following inclusion criteria: Cough, dyspnoea, fever, fall, or rapid functional decline. Expected study sample will comprise 632 participants. Participants in the control group will receive usual care, while the intervention group will undergo extended point-of-care technology (focused lung ultrasound scan and bedside venous blood analysis), in addition to usual care. The primary outcome is acute hospital admission within 30 days follow-up. Secondary outcomes include readmissions, mortality, length of hospital stay, hospital-free days, complications during hospital admission, treatment initiations or changes, functional level, re-referrals to the acute community healthcare service, and contacts to the primary care physician. A tertiary outcome is the diagnostic accuracy of Acute Community Nurses for conducting focused lung ultrasound compared with a specialist. Outcomes will be analysed as intention-to-treat.

DISCUSSION: To our knowledge, this is the first randomised controlled trial examining the effect of extended use of point-of-care technology conducted in an in-home setting. We expect that the results may contribute to the development of new interventions aiming to improve timely diagnostics, treatment decisions, and reduce acute hospital admissions.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: www.

CLINICALTRIALS: org NCT05546073 (Date of registration: September 19th, 2022).

Original languageEnglish
Article number161
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume24
Number of pages11
ISSN1471-2318
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16. Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Acute community nurse
  • Focused lung ultrasound
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Point-of-care technology

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