Cognitive Impairment – Dementia
People with dementia are twice as likely to use the ED and 1.5 times more likely to have an avoidable visit. When in the ED, they often struggle and are at greater risk of poor outcomes.
Older adults use the emergency department (ED) as an important source of acute medical care, making 20 million visits annually. People with dementia are twice as likely to use the ED and 1.5 times more likely to have an avoidable visit. When in the ED, they often struggle with the fast-paced setting and may not be able to give a complete medical history. These challenges, along with other adverse events, put patients with dementia at greater risk for poor outcomes.
Three decades of research has shown that dementia is under-recognized in emergency departments, despite a proliferation of screening tools. Under-recognition of dementia in the emergency department leads to under-recognition in inpatient services, which has broad-reaching consequences, such as longer hospital stays, lower patient satisfaction, accelerated cognitive declines, and increased health care costs. Yet, little research has explored how to improve emergency clinical care for people with dementia
Top Research Priority Areas
Best Practice Notes
The Geriatric Emergency Collaborative (GEDC) is dedicated to optimizing care for older adults seeking care in emergency department settings.
More information about best practices, staff education, and screening can be found in the GEDC Dementia Toolkit on the GEDC website.
Check back here for future GEAR 2.0 – Advancing Dementia Care manuscripts that will come from the September 2021 Consensus Conference.