Identification of Seniors at Risk (ISAR) Screening Tool in the Emergency Department: Implementation Using the Plan-Do-Study-Act Model and Validation Results

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To better meet the needs of older adults in the emergency department, Senior Friendly care processes, such as high-risk screening are recommended. The identification of Seniors at Risk (ISAR) tool is a 6-item validated screening tool for identifying elderly patients at risk of the adverse outcomes post-ED visit. This paper describes the implementation of the tool in the Mount Sinai Hospital emergency department using a Plan-Do-Study-Act model; and demonstrates whether the tool predicts adverse outcomes.


An observational study tracked tool implementation. A retrospective chart audit was completed to collect data about elderly ED patients during 2 time periods in 2010 and 2011. Data analysis compared the characteristics of patients with positive and negative screening tool results.


The identification of Seniors at Risk tool was completed for 51.6% of eligible patients, with 61.2% of patients having a positive result. Patients with positive screening results were more likely to be over age 79 (P = .003); be admitted to hospital (P < .001); have a longer mean ED length of stay (P < .001). For patients admitted to hospital, those with positive screening results had a longer mean inpatient stay (P = .012).


Implementing the Idenfitication of Seniors at Risk tool was challenged by problematic compliance with tool completion. Strategies to address this included tool adaptation; and providing staff with knowledge of ED and inpatient geriatric resources and feedback on completion rates. Positive screening results predicted adverse outcomes in elderly Mount Sinai Hospital ED patients.

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