AGED CARE residents are increasingly ending up in emergency departments, sometimes when it could have been avoided, a royal commission has been told.
An increasing number of older people with complex health needs are presenting to emergency departments, the peak body for emergency medicine says.
In many circumstances, the emergency department is the best equipped and most appropriate place to deliver care for their increasingly complex health needs, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine told the aged care royal commission.
But its submission to the inquiry noted 13 per cent to 40 per cent of all transfers from residential aged care facilities to emergency departments are potentially avoidable through the provision of quality clinical care in the facility.
It said some of the key contributors to avoidable presentations included falls, poor wound management, medication error and palliative care.
The ACEM said older people do not always receive the quality of care they require in hospital emergency departments.
"Older people experience longer waits, have higher rates of admission and may not have their comfort or pain adequately addressed," the submission said.
"The hospital environment poses a number of substantial risks to older people, especially patients from residential aged care facilities, including: hospital-acquired infections, de-conditioning, delirium, pressure injuries and further falls."
Three ACEM representatives will give evidence to the royal commission's Canberra hearing on Tuesday, as it examines the difficulties people in the aged care system face in accessing health services.
The inquiry will also hear from another relative of a person living in an aged care facility, as well as from a paramedic.
Australian Associated Press