How Older Adults Experience an Emergency Department Visit: Development and Validation of Measures

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Abstract

Study objective:

This study aims to develop and validate measures of experiences of an emergency department (ED) visit suitable for use by older adults or their family members.

Methods:

A cohort of patients aged 75 years and older who were discharged home was recruited at 4 EDs. At 1 week after the visit, patients or family members were interviewed by telephone to assess problems experienced at the visit. Twenty-six questions based on 6 domains of care found in the literature were developed: 16 questions were administered to all patients; 10 questions were administered to bed patients only. Scales were developed with multiple correspondence analysis. Regression analyses were used to validate the scales, using 2 validation criteria: perceived overall quality of care and willingness to return to the same ED.

Results:

Four hundred twelve patients completed the 1-week interview, 197 ambulatory and 215 bed patients; family members responded for 75 patients. Two scales were developed, assessing personal care and communication (8 questions; α=.63) and waiting times (2 questions; α=.79). Both scales were significantly independently associated with perceived overall quality of care and willingness to return to the same ED.

Conclusion:

Two scales assessing important aspects of ED care experienced by older adults are ready for further evaluation in other settings.

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