Patient access to after-hours primary care could prevent some less urgent ER visits

September 15, 2020

Patients who receive in-home nursing care have lower emergency room utilization if they have access to after-hours primary care. Previous research found that home nursing patients in Ontario, Canada, have an increased risk of visiting the ER after normal clinic hours on the same day they receive a home nursing visit. These ER visits may be linked to the visiting nurse identifying a health issue they are unable to appropriately address during the visit.

This study analyzed almost 12,000 patients who visited the ER after 5pm. The authors found that patients with after-hours primary care access had a smaller increased risk of an ER visit on the day a nurse came to their home compared to patients with no after-hours primary care access. These findings suggest increasing access to after-hours primary care could prevent some less-urgent ER visits.
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Effect of Access to After-Hours Primary Care on the Association Between Home Nursing Visits and Same-Day Emergency Department Use
Aaron Jones, PhD, et al
McMaster University, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
https://www.annfammed.org/content/18/5/406

American Academy of Family Physicians

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