Up to 55% of Emergency Department (ED) visits by residents of Residential Age Care Facilities (RACFs) are potentially avoidable. Limited English proficiency (LEP) contributes to lower quality health care and worse health outcomes for older people but has not been studied as a factor in avoidable ED visits from RACFs. This study aimed to examine if RACF residents with LEP have a higher rate of potentially avoidable ED visits compared to controls. We used a mixed-methods sequential exploratory design, comprising a quantitative matched cohort study of ED visit data from two local hospital networks in South-East Melbourne, Australia, and secondary thematic analysis of 25 interviews with LEP residents, family carers and staff from two RACFs in the same region. We found no differences in hospital admission rates between LEP cases and Australian-born English-speaking controls (Network 1, 87.1% cases, 85.6% controls, p=0.57; Network 2, 76.0% cases, 76.9% controls, p=0.41) and no direct qualitative evidence suggesting that LEP was a factor in avoidable ED presentations, despite communication difficulties being reported during the transfer process. These results indicate no deficit in treatment attributable to LEP which may be due to adequacy of existing RACF policies and procedures, staff training, the involvement of carers in residents’ care and/or other factors. However, additional research using different measures of LEP is recommended to further explore the role of a broader range of cultural and linguistic factors in both rates of avoidable ED presentations and the decision-making processes underpinning resident transfers to ED.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2021
EventAustralian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Conference 2021 - Online, Australia
Duration: 9 Nov 202112 Nov 2021
Conference number: 54th


ConferenceAustralian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleAAG 2021
Internet address


  • CALD
  • minority groups
  • medical treatment

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