Should Residents Who Fall Be Automatically Transported to an Emergency Department?

December 29, 2017 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Although assisted-living facilities often require emergency department (ED) visits for residents who fall, one study found that paramedics and primary care physicians can together determine whether an ED visit is necessary. According to the study, recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine, shared decision-making between paramedics and primary care physicians (consulted by telephone) could potentially save time and money for both the resident and the healthcare system, and also potentially decrease risks associated with transport (e.g., unnecessary diagnostic tests, prolonged ED visits, increased risk of infection). The study—conducted between November 2012 and May 2016—consisted of 953 assisted-living residents across 22 facilities. A total of 359 residents experienced 840 ground-level falls; in 541 cases the resident was not transported to an ED.

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