Study objective: We examine functional profiles and presence of geriatric syndromes among older patients attending 13 emergency departments (EDs) in 7 nations.
Methods: This was a prospective observational study of a convenience sample of patients, aged 75 years and older, recruited sequentially and mainly during normal working hours. Clinical observations were drawn from the interRAI Emergency Department Screener, with assessments performed by trained nurses.
Results: A sample of 2,282 patients (range 98 to 549 patients across nations) was recruited. Before becoming unwell, 46% were dependent on others in one or more aspects of personal activities of daily living. This proportion increased to 67% at presentation to the ED. In the ED, 26% exhibited evidence of cognitive impairment, and 49% could not walk without supervision. Recent falls were common (37%). Overall, at least 48% had a geriatric syndrome before becoming unwell, increasing to 78% at presentation to the ED. This pattern was consistent across nations.
Conclusion: Functional problems and geriatric syndromes affect the majority of older patients attending the ED, which may have important implications for clinical protocols and design of EDs.
Copyright © 2013 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.