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Hospital admission of nursing home patients considered but not carried out: role of the nursing home physician and the involved parties and various differences with realized hospital admissions



Hospital admission of nursing home patients considered but not carried out: role of the nursing home physician and the involved parties and various differences with realized hospital admissions



Tijdschrift Voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie 27(5): 197-205



The objective of the study was to establish in which way nursing home patients, for whom is refrained from hospitalization, differ from hospitalized nursing home patients. The question was also raised of how the decision to refrain from hospitalization is taken: which point of view and method the nursing home physician has, on which arguments decisions are based and which parties are involved and in which way. The design of the study was retrospective and descriptive. Data obtained from semi-structured interviews held in 1987 with 24 nursing home physicians on 45 situations were compared with registration data on 387 hospitalizations of patients from 30 nursing homes. In the non-hospitalized patients malignancies were relatively more frequent than in the hospitalized patients (29% versus 7%). The mean age of hospitalized patients was 78 and of non-hospitalized patients 80 years. The physical condition of non-hospitalized patients was more frequently judged as poor and the life expectancy as more limited. Already at an early stage nursing home physicians appeared to have a point of view, with which they determined the decision making procedure: in favour of (40%), opposing (35%) and in doubt of hospitalization (25%). In 'non-hospitalizations' there was much more involvement in decision making of family members and nurses, and less involvement of patients and medical specialists than in decisions to hospitalization. Non-medical arguments opposing hospitalization had slightly the upper hand above medical arguments. The decisive arguments opposing hospitalization were in the case of psychogeriatric patients more often of medical origin than in the case of somatic patients. The 'quality of live' mentioned arguments were of limited importance. The nursing home physician needs good communicative qualities in such decision making processes. He has to be skilled to judge competency of patients and, if needed, to balance in the right way the information of relatives, nurses, colleagues and specialists.

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