Primary health care service utilisation before and after entry into long-term care in Australia

on behalf of the ROSA Primary Care Research Collaborators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine utilisation of primary health care services (subsidised by the Australian Government, Medicare Benefits Schedule, MBS) before and after entry into long-term care (LTC) in Australia. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of older people (aged ≥65 years) who entered LTC in Australia between 2012 and 2016 using the Historical Cohort of the Registry of Senior Australians. MBS-subsidised general attendances (general practitioner (GP), medical and nurse practitioners), health assessment and management plans, allied health, mental health services and selected specialist attendances accessed in 91-day periods 12 months before and after LTC entry were examined. Adjusted relative changes in utilisation 0–3 months before and after LTC entry were estimated using risk ratios (RR) calculated using Generalised Estimating Equation Poisson models. Results: 235,217 residents were included in the study with a median age of 84 years (interquartile range 79–89) and 61.1% female. In the first 3 months following LTC entry, GP / medical practitioner attendances increased from 86.6% to 95.6% (aRR 1.10 95%CI 1.10–1.11), GP / medical practitioner urgent after hours (from 12.3% to 21.1%; aRR 1.72, 95%CI 1.70–1.74) and after-hours attendances (from 18.5% to 33.8%; aRR 1.83, 95%CI 1.81–1.84) increased almost two-fold. Pain, palliative and geriatric specialist medicine attendances were low in the 3 months prior (<3%) and decreased further following LTC admission. Conclusion: There is an opportunity to improve the utilisation of primary health care services following LTC entry to ensure that residents’ increasingly complex care needs are adequately met.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105210
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Feb 2024


  • Health service utilisation
  • Long-term care
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this