Integration of acute and palliative care services for long-term care (LTC) residents reduces the morbidity and mortality associated with avoidable hospitalizations while contributing to healthcare system sustainability. This paper explores patient, provider and system factors contributing to potentially avoidable emergency room visits from LTC homes, based on our clinical and quality improvement work in the Greater Toronto Area and Calgary, as well as reviews the existing literature. Commonalities are used to identify key elements for developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to manage acute medical changes in LTC residents and minimize the need for in-patient hospitalization.