Impaired functional status is associated with risk of elder mistreatment. Screening for functional impairment in elderly patients admitted to emergency departments could be performed to identify patients at risk for elder mistreatment who might benefit from further evaluation. This study utilized a modified Identification of Seniors at Risk (ISAR) screening tool to identify the proportion of elderly at risk for mistreatment due to functional difficulties presenting to two emergency departments in southeastern Virginia, one urban, the other rural. Of a 180-patient cohort (90 per site), 82 screened positive (46%), ISAR > 2 (range 0-6), indicating nearly half of all patients enrolled are at risk for mistreatment. Patients presenting to the urban emergency departments were potentially more at risk than their rural counterparts (p < 0.01). Health care professionals, particularly in urban settings, should consider screening seniors with a simple tool to identify patients at risk of elder mistreatment.
Keywords: health outcomes; population density; screening.