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Geriatrician support ‘reduces admission rate’

By Amy Fallon

Providing geriatrician support to GPs working in nursing homes reduces of emergency hospital admissions and bed days, new research shows.

The study, presented at the British Geriatric Society spring meeting in Liverpool last month, looked at 1,151 residents in three nursing homes in Middlesex between April 2006 and March 2009.

Four interventions – including a monthly medical advisory meeting between GPs and a consultant geriatrician, were carried out for three months, after which there was a reduction of 57 bed days over a three-month period for three nursing homes, compared to the previous year.

If extrapolated to all nursing homes covered by our Trust, this means a reduction of 338 residents every year, the researchers calculated.

The admission rate per 1,000 admissions was halved, from an expected rate of 23 per 1,000 admissions to an observed rate of 11 per 1,000.

Dr Radcliffe Lisk, a consultant in elderly medicine at the Ashford & St. Peter's NHS trust, concluded: ‘Geriatricians working with GPs together with co-ordinated multidisciplinary teams are well placed to manage these complex frail elderly residents and develop care plans for these residents.'

Previous research has shown that providing GP practices with the support of geriatricians improved management of elderly patients in care homes and reduced healthcare crises'.

A Pulse survey of almost 900 GPs, conducted as part of a special investigation into care home funding, found 80% of GPs said they lacked sufficient support or resources to manage elderly patients in care homes safely.

Geriatrician support