Assessing the reach and safety of an innovative urgent care service tailored to older adults

Leanne Greene, Maria Crotty, Craig Whitehead, Miia Rahja, Javaria Murad, Kwok Dang, Andrew Partington, Kate Laver

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Traditional emergency departments (EDs) are overcrowded and sometimes not suitable for older adults with complex needs. Specialised geriatric urgent care pathways for selected patients can alleviate ED demand and improve patient experience. To address urgent care needs for older adults in Southern Adelaide, the Complex And RestorativE (CARE) service was established. CARE offers alternative, geriatrician-led treatment pathways consisting of a ward-based treatment centre and an in-home visiting team called Eyes on Scene (EoS). Both pathways offer medical, nursing and allied health treatment. Routinely collected clinical data were analysed to explore the reach of the service and the incidence and nature of adverse events. Between September 2021 and March 2023, the CARE service attended to 5324 older adults requiring urgent care. A significant proportion of patients were discharged to or remained in their regular place of residence, with few requiring inpatient admissions or referrals to other facilities. A total of 7% of patients required transfer to ED and adverse events were rare. The CARE service demonstrates a feasible and safe alternative model of urgent care for older Australians.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Early online date24 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2024


  • aged
  • ambulatory care
  • frail elderly
  • geriatrics
  • health services for the aged


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