The effectiveness of interventions to reduce adverse outcomes among older adults following emergency department discharge: umbrella review
Background: Population ageing is increasing rapidly worldwide. Older adults are frequent users of health care services including the Emergency Department (ED) and experience a number of adverse outcomes following an ED visit. Adverse outcomes include functional decline, unplanned hospital admission and an ED revisit. Given these adverse outcomes a number of interventions have been examined to improve the outcomes of older adults following presentation to the ED. The aim of this umbrella review was to evaluate the efectiveness of ED interventions in reducing adverse outcomes in older adults discharged from the ED.
Methods: Systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials investigating ED interventions for older adults present?ing to the ED exploring clinical, patient experience and healthcare utilisation outcomes were included. A comprehensive search strategy was employed in eleven databases and the PROSPERO register up until June 2020. Grey literature was also searched. Quality was assessed using the A MeaSurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews 2 tool. Overlap between systematic reviews was assessed using a matrix of evidence table. An algorithm to assign the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation to assess the strength of evidence was applied for all outcomes.
Results: Nine systematic reviews including 29 randomised controlled trials were included. Interventions comprised of solely ED-based or transitional interventions. The specifc interventions delivered were highly variable. There was high overlap and low methodological quality of the trials informing the systematic reviews. There is low quality evidence to support ED interventions in reducing functional decline, improving patient experience and improving quality of life. The quality of evidence of the efectiveness of ED interventions to reduce mortality and ED revisits varied from very low to moderate. Results were presented narratively and summary of evidence tables created.
Conclusion: Older adults are the most important emerging group in healthcare for several economic, social and political reasons. The existing evidence for the efectiveness of ED interventions for older adults is limited. This umbrella review highlights the challenge of synthesising evidence due to signifcant heterogeneity in methods, intervention content and reporting of outcomes. Higher quality intervention studies in line with current geriatric medicine research guidelines are recommended, rather than the publication of further systematic reviews.
"Right Care": a programme of research to enhance safe and appropriate care for older patients in Ireland
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PublicationBMC Geriatrics, 22: 462
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