Primary care in the ED: does it fit?

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Publication details

Gadd, M & Lemin, T 2010, 'Primary care in the ED: does it fit?', Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 161-162.

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Primary health care is aimed at improving the health status of individuals by empowering them to be able to make decisions in regard to their health. Access to primary medical care in some areas is becoming increasingly difficult as a result of a shortage of medical practitioners and costs associated with seeing medical practitioners.1 Emergency departments provide a readily accessible point of contact for people seeking medical assistance. They are open 24 h a day 7 days a week and patients are not charged for attending. This results in emergency departments often being the first point of call for people seeking primary care, many of whom are from lower socio-economic groups, and as such, may have multiple health related issues.2

The Emergency Department has the opportunity to implement primary care interventions that will have primary health outcomes. This paper explores this phenomenon in the Australian context. This is supported by the advent of an increase in advanced nursing roles that enables primary interventions to be delivered within a multidisciplinary framework. Nurses working in advanced roles such as Nurse Practitioner in a variety of sub specialties including: Emergency, Aged Care, Mental Health, Community Health and Clinical Initiative Nurses have the ability to link with agencies and care providers outside of the Emergency Department and to guide patients to appropriate health care services.

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