BackgroundCare home residents aged 65 + years frequently experience acute health issues, leading to emergency department visits. Falls and associated injuries are a common cause of these visits and falls in a geriatric population can be a symptom of an incipient acute illness such as infection. Conversely, the traumatic event can cause illnesses to arise due to consequences of the fall, e.g. delirium or constipation due to opioid use. We hypothesised that a traumatic event treat-and-release emergency department visit serves as an indicator for an upcoming acute hospital admission due to non-trauma-related conditions.MethodsWe studied emergency department visits for traumatic events among all care home residents aged 65+ (n = 2601) living in Southern Jutland, Denmark, from 2018 to 2019. Data from highly valid national registers were used to evaluate diagnoses, mortality, and admissions. Cox Regression was used to analyse the hazard of acute hospital admission following an emergency department treat-and-release visit.ResultsMost visits occurred on weekdays and during day shifts, and 72.0% were treated and released within 6 h. Contusions, open wounds, and femur fractures were the most common discharge diagnoses, accounting for 53.3% of all cases (n = 703). In-hospital mortality was 2.3%, and 30-day mortality was 10.4%. Among treat-and-release visits (n = 506), 25% resulted in a new hospital referral within 30 days, hereof 13% treat-and-release revisits (duration ≤ 6 h), and 12% hospital admissions (duration > 6 h). Over half (56%) of new hospital referrals were initiated within the first seven days of discharge. Almost three-fourths of subsequent admissions were caused by various diseases. The hazard ratio of acute hospital admissions was 2.20 (95% CI: 1.52–3.17) among residents with a recent traumatic event treat-and-release visit compared to residents with no recent traumatic event treat-and-release visit.ConclusionTraumatic event treat-and-release visits among care home residents serve as an indicator for subsequent hospitalisations, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive evaluation, even for minor injuries. These findings have implications for improving care, continuity, and resource utilisation.Trial registrationNot relevant.

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