Evaluation of municipal emergency care beds

What we do

A key objective of the Coordination Reform in Norway is to improve patient care and to provide health care services closer to where the patient lives. A new intermediate level of care was established, municipal emergency care beds. In these units, municipalities were required to offer the population beds for acute admittance 24/7, staffed by skilled nurses and with a responsible physician on call. The municipalities and the local hospital trust were by law obliged to engage in a formal cooperation concerning these units, and to agree on guidelines on eligible patients, routines for admission, discharge and resources available. The rationale for establishing these units was relieving the hospitals for some of the patient burden, when treatment could be given with the same or even better quality in the municipal units.

Scientific evaluation is important when such large, new measures are taken. In this area, AFE Bergen has ongoing projects in cooperating with several municipalities.

Emergency care beds in the municipality of Eigersund

In Eigersund, two emergency care beds were established in March 2013. We conducted an observational study assessing the occupancy rate, patient characteristics, admission diagnoses and level of care for all patients admitted to the unit during the first year of operation. An article has been published.

Project manager was Sabine Ruths. Other project participants were Heidi Nilsen (GP scholar) and Steinar Hunskår (Nklm and UoB).

Emergency care beds in the municipality of Luster

Luster municipality signed an agreement with Health Førde regarding municipal emergency care beds in Gaupne. The unit consists of two beds, with possibility of extension when needed. We conduct monitoring of activities and results in the unit during the first 4 years of operation (2013-2016).

Project manager is Sabine Ruths. Other project participants are Anne Kjær Schmidt (AFE), Thomas Mildestvedt (UoB), Valborg Baste (Uni Research Health), Bård Flattun Lilleeng (Luster municipality) Henriette Sandvik (Luster municipality).

Updated: 12.10.2018

Project outcomes

  • Total bed occupancy rate was 27%
  • The patients (median age 83 years) had mostly infections, musculoskeletal symptoms or undefined conditions
  • Half the stays exceeded three days
  • 43% of the patients were subsequently transferred to nursing home or hospital