• aged;
  • Australia;
  • general/family practice

Objectives:To describe the content of general practitioners’ (GP) encounters with patients aged 65 years or more, and to determine any differences in the way problems are managed between the 65–74 and 75 years and over age groups.

Method:A secondary analysis of data collected through the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program was carried out.

Results:Encounters with older patients accounted for 25.0% of a GP's total workload. Circulatory conditions, in particular hypertension, were the most frequently managed, with cardiovascular medications the most frequently prescribed. Numerous differences exist in the characteristics and management of older patients when divided into those aged 65–74 and 75 years and over, with patients aged 75 years or more receiving investigations and non-pharmacological treatments significantly less often.

Conclusion:The present study provides a baseline measure of the management of older patients in general practice.