University Of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Continuity matters: Examining the ‘information gap’ in transfer from Residential Aged Care, ambulance to emergency triage in southern Tasmania

Background: Transfer of older people from Residential Aged Care Facilities to Emergency Departments requires multiple comprehensive handovers across different services. Significant information gaps exist in transferred information despite calls for standards.

Aim: To investigate: (1) presence of minimum standard elements in the transfer text written by RACF nurses, paramedics and ED triage nurses, and (2) the transfer documentation used by services.

Methods: We analysed retrospective cross-sectional transfer narratives from the digital medical record system of an Australian tertiary referral hospital using the mnemonic SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment Recommendation) as the measure of comprehensiveness. Transfer documents from 3 groups were also reviewed.

Findings: Inclusion of elements from SBAR was inconsistent across transfer. Rather, the written narratives focused on concerns relevant to the immediate priority, the type of information imposed by the document(s) in use, and clinical role of the author.

Conclusion: Transfer documentation from Residential Aged Care nurses, paramedics and ED triage nurses do not contain comprehensive information of older persons complex conditions. Better communication between non-affiliated organisations is needed to improve timely appropriate care for RACF residents.


Publication title

International Emergency Nursing








Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


Elsevier Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Health related to ageing