Primary, allied health, geriatric, pain and palliative healthcare service utilisation by aged care residents, 2012–2017

Maria C. Inacio, Luke Collier, Tracy Air, Kailash Thapaliya, Maria Crotty, Helena Williams, Steve L. Wesselingh, Andrew Kellie, David Roder, Adrienne Lewis, Gillian Harvey, Janet K. Sluggett, Monica Cations, Tiffany K. Gill, Jyoti Khadka, Gillian E. Caughey

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Objectives: To examine the incidence and trends in primary care, allied health, geriatric, pain and palliative care service use by permanent residential aged care (PRAC) residents and the older Australian population. Methods: Repeated cross-sectional analyses on PRAC residents (N = 318,484) and the older (≥65 years) Australian population (N ~ 3.5 million). Outcomes were Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) subsidised primary care, allied health, geriatric, pain and palliative services between 2012–13 and 2016–17. GEE Poisson models estimated incidence rates and incidence rate ratios (IRR). Results: In 2016–17, PRAC residents had a median of 13 (interquartile range [IQR] 5–19) regular general medical practitioner (GP) attendances, 3 (IQR 1–6) after-hours attendances and 5% saw a geriatrician. Highlights of utilisation changes from 2012–13 to 2016–17 include the following: GP attendances increased by 5%/year (IRR = 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05–1.05) for residents compared to 1%/year (IRR = 1.01, 95%CI 1.01–1.01) for the general population. GP after-hours attendances increased by 15%/year (IRR = 1.15, 95%CI 1.14–1.15) for residents and 9%/year (IRR = 1.08, 95%CI 1.07–1.20) for the general population. GP management plans increased by 12%/year (IRR = 1.12, 95%CI 1.11–1.12) for residents and 10%/year (IRR = 1.10, 95%CI 1.09–1.11) for the general population. Geriatrician consultations increased by 28%/year (IRR = 1.28, 95%CI 1.27–1.29) for residents compared to 14%/year (IRR = 1.14, 95%CI 1.14–1.15) in the general population. Conclusions: The utilisation of most examined services increased in both cohorts over time. Preventive and management care, by primary care and allied health care providers, was low and likely influences the utilisation of other attendances. PRAC residents' access to pain, palliative and geriatric medicine services is low and may not address the residents' needs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • epidemiology
  • health services for the aged
  • palliative care
  • primary health care
  • residential facilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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