Patterns of emergency ambulance use, 2009–13: a comparison of older people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities and the Community

R Dwyer, B Gabbe, T D Tran, K Smith, J A Lowthian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective
to examine demand for emergency ambulances by older people.

Design
retrospective cohort study using secondary analysis of routinely collected clinical and administrative data from Ambulance Victoria, and population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Setting
Victoria, Australia.

Participants
people aged 65 years and over, living in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) and the community, attended by emergency ambulance paramedics, 2009–13.
Main outcome measures
rates of emergency ambulance attendance.

Results
older people living in RACF experienced high rates of emergency ambulance attendance, up to four times those for age- and sex-matched people living in the community. Rates remained constant during the study period equating to a consistent, 1.45% average annual increase in absolute demand. Rates peak among the 80–84-year group where the number of attendances equates to greater than one for every RACF-dwelling person each year. Increased demand was associated with winter months, increasing age and being male.

Conclusion
these data provide strong evidence of high rates of emergency ambulance use by people aged 65 years and over living in RACF. These results demonstrate a clear relationship between increased rate of ambulance use among this vulnerable group of older Australians and residence, sex, age and season. Overall, absolute demand continues to increase each year adding to strain on health resources. Additional research is needed to elucidate individual characteristics, illness and health system contributors to ambulance use to inform strategies to appropriately reduce demand.

Keywords: residential aged care, ambulance, older people, emergency care, pre-hospital
Topic: ambulanceselderlycommunity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615–619
Number of pages5
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Ambulance
  • Emergency care
  • Older people
  • Pre-hospital
  • Residential aged care

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