Same-day physician access could prevent 1 in 6 hospitalizations in long-term care homes

September 11, 2019

Dr. Daniel Kobewka“We found that residents of long-term care homes with same-day access to a physician were less likely to be hospitalized,” said Dr. Daniel KobewkaWhen the health of a resident of a long-term care home suddenly changes, a physician is often called to treat them in the residence. Not only is this more comfortable for the resident, it’s also healthier- their risks of falls and infection are greater in hospital. According to a study led by Dr. Daniel Kobewka, residents of long-term care homes that had same-day physician access were 21 percent less likely to be hospitalized and 14 percent less likely visit an emergency department compared to homes where residents had to wait longer for a physician visit. The researchers studied six months of data from the residents of 161 Ontario long-term care homes. About a third of these residences had same-day physician access. In Ontario, long-term care homes transfer between 4 percent and 60 percent of their residents to hospital each year. These findings suggest that policies to improve same day physician access could allow more residents to be cared for in the residence.

“We found that residents of long-term care homes with same-day access to a physician were less likely to be hospitalized,”  said Dr. Kobewka, general internist and clinician investigator at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa

Authors: Daniel Kobewka, Elizabeth Kunkel, Amy Hsu, Robert Talarico, Peter Tanuseputro

Source: Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

Funding: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-term Care hosted at Bruyère

Core Resources: ICES uOttawa

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Disease and research area tags: Aging, Health services research