Health care utilization before and after an outpatient ED visit in older people

Carolyn Horney, Kenneth Schmader, Linda L. Sanders, Mitchell Heflin, Luna Ragsdale, Eleanor McConnell, Michael Hocker, S. Nicole Hastings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Older adults in the United States receive a significant amount of care in the emergency department (ED), yet the associations between ED and other types of health care utilization have not been adequately studied in this population. Objectives: The goals of this study were to examine the relationships between health care use before and after an ED visit among older adults. Methods: This retrospective cohort study examined health care use among 308 patients 65 years or older discharged from a university-affiliated ED. Proportional-hazards models were used to assess the relationship between pre-ED health care use (primary care physician [PCP], specialist, ED, and hospital) and risk of return ED visits. Results: Older ED patients in this study had visited other types of providers frequently in the previous year (median number of PCP and specialist visits, 4). Patients who used the ED on 2 or more occasions in the previous year were found to have visited their PCP more often than those without frequent ED use (median number of visits, 7.0 vs 4.0; P <.001). Despite more PCP use in this population, frequent ED use was associated with increased risk of a repeat ED visit (hazard ratio, 2.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-4.21), in models adjusted for demographics and health status. Conclusion: Older adults who use the ED are also receiving significant amounts of care from other sources; simply providing additional access to care may not improve outcomes for these vulnerable individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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    Horney, C., Schmader, K., Sanders, L. L., Heflin, M., Ragsdale, L., McConnell, E., Hocker, M., & Hastings, S. N. (2012). Health care utilization before and after an outpatient ED visit in older people. American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 30(1), 135-142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2010.10.036