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How do GPs feel about visiting RACFs?

No nursing home visiting!

This line struck Dr Russell Pearson as he was reading an advertisement for practices looking for GPs, as it was put forward as an incentive for jobseekers.

“I was astonished,” Pearson said. “It made me wonder had the people writing the ads accurately captured the mood of Australian GPs?”

Pearson, who is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong’s School of Medicine and a practising GP, and his team spoke with GPs and GP registrars working in rural and regional NSW, using focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews.

The researchers found that GPs generally enjoyed caring for residents of nursing homes and felt it to be an integral part of general practice.

“It’s part of your duty of care to look after them,” said one participant.

Despite this generally sunny outlook, the study discovered many GPs found visiting RACFs a frustrating experience.

“The overwhelming finding was the frustration that engaged GPs experienced in their visits. For many GPs, the experience of visiting RACFs was one of hide and seek: seeking out the patient, the nurse, their notes and medication charts,” Pearson said.

GPs also believed the work was poorly remunerated compared to the work they undertook at their surgery.

Aged Care Insite spoke with Pearson about the other barriers to RACF visiting highlighted in the study and ways to improve the relationship between GPs and nursing homes.

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