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Geriatric patients in the emergency department 

Geriatric patients in the emergency department
Geriatric patients in the emergency department

Don Melady

and Barry J. Goldlist

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date: 06 July 2022

This chapter addresses strategies for closing the ‘quality gap’ between the needs of complex older patients presenting to an emergency department (ED) and what current EDs mostly provide. It reviews historical reasons that the current system often fails to address the multiple and multifactorial needs of an older person in the ED. It explores domains of care—complex and atypical presentations, an awareness of polymorbidity, polypharmacy, falls, cognitive impairment, and end-of-life issues—that are specific to the older ED patient. It suggests opportunities for quality improvement in the essential components of a senior-friendly ED, summarizing some of the changes to staffing, education, policies, procedures, and physical design that prioritize the needs of older patients. It identifies the importance of the ED’s role in the continuum of care and opportunities for improving transitions of care involving the ED.

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