Management of adverse clinical events by duty physicians in a nursing home

Arthur Leibovitz*, Yehuda Baumoehl, Beni Habot, Israel Gil, Emily Lubart, Vladymir Kaplun, Rafael Segal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background and aims: The nature of adverse clinical events (ACE) during duty hours (16:00-08:00 and holidays), as well as the way they are addressed by duty physicians (DP) in a nursing home (NH) are the subject of this study. Methods: Data, including medical details concerning ACEs and the resultant referrals to hospital, were collected prospectively during 183 consecutive days in a 90-bed NH. Results: Ninety-six residents experienced 370 ACEs, representing an average of one for every 44.5 patient days. The highest rate of events was during evening hours (18:00-21:00). The most prevalent ACE was fever (32%). Most cases (53%) were treated by the DPs on site. No intervention was needed in 19% of cases, whereas 28% of ACEs (104 cases) were referred to the Emergency Room (ER) of a general hospital. Sixty-six percent of these were actually admitted. The rate of ER referral of residents was one for every 158 patient days. About 40% of the referred patients had been discharged from hospital the previous week. High fever was the commonest cause for referral: 47%. During the working hours of the study period, the rate of referral by the staff physician was only 1 for every 915 patient days. Only 17% of these had high fever. Conclusions: Evening rounds by staff physicians, strengthening of working relations with hospital physicians, as well as fostering intravenous treatment in NHs, are suggested as means for reducing hospital transfers. A standardized method for the reporting of ACEs and referrals to hospitals should be adopted in order to facilitate comparisons between NHs and to evaluate its use as a quality indicator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Adverse clinical event
  • Duty physician
  • Hospital transfer
  • Nursing home
  • Older persons


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