Health Affairs: Transforming Emergency Care For Older Adults

Abstract

Already crowded and stressful, US emergency departments (EDs) are facing the challenge of serving an aging population that requires complex and lengthy evaluations. Creative solutions are necessary to improve the value and ensure the quality of emergency care delivered to older adults while more fully addressing their complex underlying physical, social, cognitive, and situational needs. Developing models of geriatric emergency care, including some that are already in use at dedicated geriatric EDs, incorporate a variety of physical, procedural, and staffing changes. Among the options for “geriatricizing” emergency care are approaches that may eliminate the need for an ED visit, such as telemedicine; for initial hospitalization, such as patient observation units; and for rehospitalization, such as comprehensive discharge planning. By transforming their current safety-net role to becoming a partner in care coordination, EDs have the opportunity to become better integrated into the broader health care system, improve patient health outcomes, contribute to optimizing the health care system, and reduce overall costs of care—keys to improving emergency care for patients of all ages.

Already strained and busy providing care for almost 130 million acutely ill and injured patients of all ages,1 US emergency departments (EDs) must now prepare to deliver high-quality, efficient care to the “silver tsunami” of the aging population. This article describes opportunities to transform the emergency department’s traditionally perceived role as the “front door” of the hospital to becoming the “front porch,” improve the value of emergency care for vulnerable older patients, and partner with other services to help older adults navigate the health care system.

Continue reading here: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/32/12/2116.full?ijkey=OPLFSIHimFkA6&keytype=ref&siteid=healthaff

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
  • St. Barnabas Senior Services

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