, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 245-249
Date: 18 Apr 2008

A comprehensive evaluation of elderly people discharged from an Emergency Department

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Abstract

Elderly people make extensive use of the Emergency Department (ED). After discharge from the ED, these patients are at high risk of short-term adverse outcomes such as functional decline, readmission to the ED, hospitalization and death. We investigated whether a comprehensive geriatric evaluation (CGE) and follow-up of the elderly discharged from the ED can provide them with better diagnosis and treatment, and thus reduce adverse outcomes. Out of 423 elderly patients over 75 years of age discharged from an ED we evaluated 222 of them. The patients were evaluated and treated, based on testing for physical, functional, cognitive and emotional status. A comparison was made between scale scores at baseline and 3 months later. We observed a significant improvement in physical and emotional status in all the studied patients, a significant improvement in behavioural status in the elderly patients with cognitive dysfunction, and a reduction of distress in the caregivers of the elderly patients with cognitive dysfunction and behavioural disturbances. We also found that the rate of  ED readmission or hospitalization was lower than in the 3 months preceding the CGE. The experience of older patients with the ED system can be greatly improved if  their complex  needs are given due attention by developing interdisciplinary programs between emergency physicians, geriatricians, and primary care physicians.