Patterns of emergency department attendance among older people in the last three months of life and factors associated with frequent attendance: a mortality follow-back survey

BUILDCARE study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
132 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: frequent emergency department (ED) attendance at the end of life disrupts care continuity and contradicts most patients' preference for home-based care.

OBJECTIVE: to examine factors associated with frequent (≥3) end of life ED attendances among older people to identify opportunities to improve care.

METHODS: pooled data from two mortality follow-back surveys in England. Respondents were family members of people aged ≥65 who died four to ten months previously. We used multivariable modified Poisson regression to examine illness, service and sociodemographic factors associated with ≥3 ED attendances, and directed content analysis to explore free-text responses.

RESULTS: 688 respondents (responses from 42.0%); most were sons/daughters (60.5%). Mean age at death was 85 years. 36.5% had a primary diagnosis of cancer and 16.3% respiratory disease. 80/661 (12.1%) attended ED ≥3 times, accounting for 43% of all end of life attendances. From the multivariable model, respiratory disease (reference cancer) and ≥2 comorbidities (reference 0) were associated with frequent ED attendance (adjusted prevalence ratio 2.12, 95% CI 1.21-3.71 and 1.81, 1.07-3.06). Those with ≥7 community nursing contacts (reference 0 contacts) were more likely to frequently attend ED (2.65, 1.49-4.72), whereas those identifying a key health professional were less likely (0.58, 0.37-0.88). Analysis of free-text found inadequate community support, lack of coordinated care and untimely hospital discharge were key issues.

CONCLUSIONS: assigning a key health professional to older people at increased risk of frequent end of life ED attendance, e.g. those with respiratory disease and/or multiple comorbidities, may reduce ED attendances by improving care coordination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume48
Issue number5
Early online date25 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Continuity of patient care
  • Emergency medicine
  • Hospitals
  • Palliative care

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Patterns of emergency department attendance among older people in the last three months of life and factors associated with frequent attendance: a mortality follow-back survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this