Appropriateness of unscheduled hospital admissions from care homes

Jennifer K. Harrison*, Iona K. McKay, Patrick Grant, Jean Hannah, Terence J. Quinn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unscheduled hospital admissions from care homes are common and potentially avoidable but little guidance is available as to what constitutes an appropriate hospital admission. We surveyed healthcare professionals' opinions on a range of common scenarios affecting care-home residents. We developed seven clinical vignettes and an accompanying questionnaire. We used purposive sampling to obtain opinions from relevant primary care and secondary care teams. We asked assessors to comment on whether they would favour hospital admission and to justify their response using pre-selected options and/or free text. Admission to hospital was judged inappropriate in 54.6% of responses. Opinion on admission varied according to the case, with fewer than half of respondents agreeing for three of the seven cases. Recurring themes were uncertainty around services available to care homes and anticipatory care planning. The lack of consensus suggests that concepts surrounding inappropriate care-home admission are not shared by staff who provide care for this patient group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Care home
  • Hospitalisation
  • Nursing homes
  • Questionnaire


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