Coroners' recommendations for prevention of resident deaths in aged care: The role of primary care providers

Georgia Aitken, Athena Demosthenous, Lyndal Bugeja, Melissa Willoughby, Carmel Young, Joseph E. Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Currently, very little is known about how coroners consider a role for general practitioners (GPs) and registered nurses (RNs) in recommendations for the prevention of premature death. Involving these professions in recommendations generally directed towards government organisations or residential aged care providers and management may contribute to more successful broader policy changes. The aim of this article was to examine whether coroners' recommendations describe a specific role for GPs and RNs in the prevention of premature death in residential aged care settings and, if so, what domains of practice were considered. METHOD: This study was part of a larger retrospective cohort study. The National Coronial Information System (NCIS) was used to extract coroners' reports that included recommendations directed towards GPs and RNs. The following information was extracted: mechanism of death, incident location, text of coroners' recommendations. RESULTS: Of 162 unique recommendations, 14 (8.6%) were relevant to GPs and 10 (6.2%) were relevant to RNs. Most recommendations were made in the domains of 'applied professional knowledge and skills', 'organisations and legal dimensions' and 'provision and coordination of care'. Recommendations were primarily made in response to natural cause deaths and complications of clinical care. DISCUSSION: Coroners' recommendations have a limited focus directed towards GPs and RNs, and recommendations focus on their roles in application of skills and knowledge, legal domains, and provision and coordination of care. Recommendations were mainly made in response to deaths due to suboptimal care or from 'complications of clinical care'. Formulating recommendations for these health professions may increase accountability and the likelihood of a recommendation being effectively implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-317
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Journal of General Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

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