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Characterizing the Long-term Care and Community-dwelling Elderly Patients' Use of the Emergency Department

Sask-ST-Elderly Use of ED

Saskatchewan (ED)

Introduction: Elderly patients, particularly those in long-term care (LTC), are a growing proportion of patients who present to the emergency department (ED). This population is medically complex, with high burdens on ED resources and patient flow. This study sought to characterize how elderly LTC and community-dwelling (CD) patients use ED services. 

Materials and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study that assessed approximately 200 senior (age>65) ED visits. These patients were either residing in LTC facilities or they were CD. All participants lived in the same, medium-sized Canadian city. Data indicating demographic information, acuity of presentation, and administrative parameters (such as disposition status or length of stay) were collected and analyzed. 

Results: A few statistically significant differences between the populations were noted. This included mean age, which was 82.6 years in the LTC population and 77.3 for the CD group (p<0.001). There were 27 repeat visits among patients in the LTC group, compared to six from the CD patients (p<0.001). In the LTC population, 75 patients required transport from emergency medical services (EMS) compared to 41 from the control group (p<0.001). 

Conclusion: LTC patients re-present to the ED and use EMS services more frequently than their CD counterparts. This difference indicates potential areas to target for future quality improvement work to help enhance care to this vulnerable population.

Authors: Sachin Trivedi, Christopher Roberts, Erwin Karreman, and Kish Lyster

Sachin Trivedi -

Preliminary data gathering/ baseline

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