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Influences on emergency department attendance among frail older people with deteriorating health: a multicentre prospective cohort study.

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Bone, AE 
Evans, CJ 
Henson, LA 
Etkind, SN 
Higginson, IJ 


OBJECTIVES: To examine the patterns and influences on repeated emergency department attendance among frail older people with deteriorating health. STUDY DESIGN: Multicentre prospective cohort study (International Access Rights and Empowerment II study) with convergent mixed methods design. METHODS: Eligible patients were aged ≥65 years, with Clinical Frailty Score ≥5, and ≥1 hospital admission or ≥2 acute attendances in the previous 6 months. Questionnaires were administered to participants over 6 months and we extracted clinical data from the medical records. We conducted modified Poisson multivariable regression analysis to identify factors associated with repeated emergency department attendance (≥2 over 6 months) and thematic analysis of qualitative interviews. RESULTS: A total of 90 participants were recruited. The mean age was 84 years, and 63% were women. Of 87 participants, 21 experienced repeated emergency department attendance. Severe and/or overwhelming pain (adjusted prevalence ratio 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.17-5.11), greater number of comorbidities (1.32, 1.08-1.62), ≥10 community nursing contacts (2.93, 1.31-6.56), and a total of ≥2 weeks spent in hospital during the previous 6 months (2.91, 1.24-6.84) were associated with repeated attendance. From 45 interviews, we identified influences on emergency department attendance: 1. inaccessibility of community healthcare; 2. perceived barriers to community healthcare seeking; 3. perceived benefits of hospital admission; 4. barriers to recovery during previous hospital admission (unsuitable food, inactivity); and 5. poorly coordinated transitions between settings. CONCLUSIONS: We identified missed opportunities to optimise older people's recovery during hospital admission, such as improved food and a timely and coordinated discharge, which may reduce reattendances. Proactive care in the community with systematic assessment of symptoms may be required, particularly for those with multimorbidity.



Aged, Emergency service, Frailty, Palliative care, Primary health care, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Emergency Service, Hospital, Female, Frail Elderly, Health Status, Humans, Male, Prospective Studies

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Public Health

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Elsevier BV