Toward patient-centered care: a systematic review of older adults' views of quality emergency care

Ann Emerg Med. 2014 May;63(5):529-550.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.07.509. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


Study objective: Observers have cited a quality gap between the current emergency care and the needs of elderly adults in the emergency setting. The Institute of Medicine identified patient-centeredness as a vital aim of quality health care. To develop a patient-centered approach in the emergency setting, we must first understand the elderly patients' views of their emergency care. Thus, we performed a systematic review to synthesize the current knowledge about the elderly patient's preferences and views of their emergency care.

Methods: Systematic review of qualitative studies and surveys addressing the elderly patients' views of their emergency care using PUBMED and CINAHL. Using meta-ethnography, we identified 6 broad themes about the elderly's perspectives of hospital-based emergency care.

Results: Of the 81 articles initially identified, our final review included 28 articles. We developed 6 themes of quality emergency care: (1) role of health care providers; (2) content of communication and patient education; (3) barriers to communication; (4) wait times; (5) physical needs in the emergency care setting; and (6) general elder care needs. Key findings were that emergency staff should (1) assume a leadership role with both the medical and social needs; (2) initiate communication frequently; (3) minimize potential barriers to communication; (4) check on patients during prolonged periods of waiting; (5) attend to distress caused by physical discomforts in the emergency care setting; and (6) address general elder care needs, including the care transition and involvement of caregivers when necessary.

Conclusion: Current qualitative research on the views of the elderly patient to hospital-based emergency care reveals common themes that should be considered in efforts to improve delivery of care to the elderly patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards
  • Humans
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Patient-Centered Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care*