Introduction: Elders who utilize the emergency department (ED) may have little prospective knowledge of appropriate expectations during an ED encounter. Improving elder orientation to ED expectations is important for satisfaction and health education. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a multi-media education intervention as a method for informing independently living elders about ED care. The program delivered messages categorically as, the number of tests, providers, decisions and disposition decision making.
Methods: Interventional trial of representative elders over 59 years of age comparing pre and post multimedia program exposure. A brief (0.3 hour) video that chronicled the key events after a hypothetical 911 call for chest pain was shown. The video used a clinical narrator, 15 ED health care providers, and 2 professional actors for the patient and spouse. Pre- and post-video tests results were obtained with audience response technology (ART) assessed learning using a 4 point Likert scale.
Results: Valid data from 142 participants were analyzed pre to post rankings (Wilcoxon signed-rank tests). The following four learning objectives showed significant improvements: number of tests expected [median differences on a 4-point Likert scale with 95% confidence intervals: 0.50 (0.00, 1.00)]; number of providers expected 1.0 (1.00, 1.50); communications 1.0 (1.00, 1.50); and pre-hospital medical treatment 0.50 (0.00, 1.00). Elders (96%) judged the intervention as improving their ability to cope with an ED encounter.
Conclusion: A short video with graphic side-bar information is an effective educational strategy to improve elder understanding of expectations during a hypothetical ED encounter following calling 911.