Older residents discharged into the community after emergency room visits often experience significant barriers to care during their transition, and understanding these concerns can improve the quality of care, a new study has found.
More than half of older adults are discharged into the community after emergency room visits, and many previous studies have shown an increased risk of adverse outcomes during the immediate post-discharge period.
“Understanding older adults’ experiences during the transition from the emergency department to community care has the potential to improve clinical emergency care for geriatric patients and inform the development of interventions,” the authors wrote.
Researchers led by Yale School of Medicine’s Cameron J. Gettel conducted a qualitative analysis of patients ages 65 and older treated in four different emergency departments by a single US health care system. Researchers collected data and recorded semi-structured interviews with 25 participants to determine their transition experiences.
Patients identified several obstacles they experienced during the transition process from emergency department to outpatient care. Some of the patient barriers identified include an abrupt ED discharge process with incomplete information on symptom explanation and performance testing, challenges in managing outpatient clinical follow-up, new physical limitations, and issues with caregivers.
“Older adults identified barriers to a successful transition from ED to community care that may influence the development of novel and effective interventions,” the researchers noted.
The study appeared in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. It has been accepted for presentation at the 2022 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Annual Meeting and the 2022 OAIC Annual Meeting.