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At Risk for Emotional Harm in the
Emergency Department: Older Adult
Patients’ and Caregivers’ Experiences,
Strategies, and Recommendations

Sask-DG-Older Adult Emotional Harm

Saskatchewan (ED)

Background: Emergency departments (ED) serve a critical role in addressing the health care needs of older adults, although organizational and provider characteristics can result in unintended negative outcomes for this population, such as emotional harm. This study aimed to describe the patient experience of older adults in the ED and generate recommendations for enhancing their experience. 

Methods: Data from focus groups and individual interviews of older adults and caregivers who had visited the ED were thematically analyzed. 

Results: Ten focus groups and individual interviews of 41 older adults and 15 caregivers were conducted. Health system and provider factors affecting the patient experience were identified. Participants negotiated their experience using diverse strategies. Recommendations for improving the ED experience were generated. 

Conclusions: Older adults attending the ED are at risk for health care-related emotional harm unrelated to their entrance complaint, which could be mitigated by addressing organizational and attitudinal factors.

Authors: Donna Goodridge, James Stempien

Donna Goodridge -

Preliminary data gathering/ baseline

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