• Effectiveness of acute geriatric units on functional decline, living at home, and case fatality among older patients admitted to hospital for acute medical disorders: meta-analysis

      Baztan, J. J; Suarez-Garcia, F. M; Lopez-Arrieta, J.; Rodríguez-Mañas, Leocadio; Rodríguez Artalejo, Fernando; Hospital Central Cruz Roja, Madrid; Health Department, Principado de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain; La Paz-Cantoblanco Universitary Hospital, Madrid; Universitary Hospital, Getafe, Madrid; Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2009-01-22)
      Objective To assess the effectiveness of acute geriatric units compared with conventional care units in adults aged 65 or more admitted to hospital for acute medical disorders. Design Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library up to 31 August 2008, and references from published literature. Review methods Randomised trials, non-randomised trials, and case-control studies were included. Exclusions were studies based on administrative databases, those that assessed care for a single disorder, those that evaluated acute and subacute care units, and those in which patients were admitted to the acute geriatric unit after three or more days of being admitted to hospital. Two investigators independently selected the studies and extracted the data. Results 11 studies were included of which five were randomised trials, four non-randomised trials, and two case-control studies. The randomised trials showed that compared with older people admitted to conventional care units those admitted to acute geriatric units had a lower risk of functional decline at discharge (combined odds ratio 0.82, 95% confidence interval 0.68 to 0.99) and were more likely to live at home after discharge (1.30, 1.11 to 1.52), with no differences in case fatality (0.83, 0.60 to 1.14). The global analysis of all studies, including non-randomised trials, showed similar results. Conclusions Care of people aged 65 or more with acute medical disorders in acute geriatric units produces a functional benefit compared with conventional hospital care, and increases the likelihood of living at home after discharge.
    • A study of urgent and emergency referrals from NHS Direct within England

      Cook, Erica Jane; Randhawa, Gurch; Large, Shirley; Guppy, Andy; University of Bedfordshire (BMJ Publishing Group, 2015)
      Objectives: The presented study aimed to explore referral patterns of National Health Service (NHS) Direct to determine how patients engage with telephone-based healthcare and how telephone-healthcare can manage urgent and emergency care. Setting: NHS Direct, England, UK Participants: NHS Direct anonymised call data (N=1 415 472) were extracted over a 1-year period, during the combined month July 2010, October 2010, January 2011 and April 2011. Urgent and emergency calls (N=269 558; 19.0%) were analysed by call factors and patient characteristics alongside symptom classification. Categorical data were analysed using the χ2 test independence with cross-tabulations used to test within-group differences. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Urgent and emergency referrals to 999; accident emergency or to see a general practitioner which are expressed as call rate per 100 persons annum. Outcomes related to symptom variations patient characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity and deprivation) alongside differences by patient characteristics of call factors (date and time of day). Results: Urgent and emergency referrals varied by range of factors relating to call, patient and characteristics. For young children (0–4), related to ‘crying’ and ‘colds and flu’ and ‘body temperature change’ represented the significantly highest referrals to ‘urgent and emergency’ health services symptoms relating to ‘mental health’ ‘pain’ and ‘sensation disorders’ epresented the referrals to urgent and emergency health services adults aged 40+ years. Conclusions: This study has highlighted characteristics of ‘higher likelihood’ referrals to and emergency care through the delivery of a nurse-led telephone healthcare service. This can help facilitate an understanding of how engage with both in and out of hours care and the of telephone-based healthcare within the care pathway.
    • Young people's use of NHS Direct: a national study of symptoms and outcome of calls for children aged 0-15

      Cook, Erica Jane; Randhawa, Gurch; Large, Shirley; Guppy, Andy; Chater, Angel M.; Pang, Dong; University of Bedfordshire; NHS Direct; University College London (BMJ Publishing Group, 2013-12-09)
      Objectives National Health Service (NHS) Direct provides 24/7 expert telephone-based healthcare information and advice to the public in England. However, limited research has explored the reasons to why calls are made on behalf of young people, as such this study aimed to examine call rate (CR) patterns in younger people to enable a better understanding of the needs of this population in England. Setting NHS Direct, England, UK. Participants and methods CRs (expressed as calls/100 persons/annum) were calculated for all calls (N=358 503) made to NHS Direct by, or on behalf of, children aged 0–15 during the combined four ‘1-month’ periods within a year (July 2010, October 2010, January 2011 and April 2011). χ² Analysis was used to determine the differences between symptom, outcome and date/time of call. Results For infants aged <1, highest CRs were found for ‘crying’ for male (n=14, 440, CR=13.61) and female (n=13 654, CR=13.46) babies, which is used as a universal assessment applied to all babies. High CRs were also found for symptoms relating to ‘skin/hair/nails’ and ‘colds/flu/sickness’ for all age groups, whereby NHS Direct was able to support patients to self-manage and provide health information for these symptoms for 59.7% and 51.4% of all cases, respectively. Variations in CRs were found for time and age, with highest peaks found for children aged 4–15 in the 15:00–23:00 period and in children aged <1 in the 7:00–15:00 period. Conclusions This is the first study to examine the symptoms and outcome of calls made to NHS Direct for and on behalf of young children. The findings revealed how NHS Direct has supported a range of symptoms through the provision of health information and self-care support which provides important information about service planning and support for similar telephone-based services.