Research Priorities

GEAR 1.0

The Geriatric Emergency care Applied Research Network (GEAR) aims to establish infrastructure to support collaborative, interdisciplinary research to improve care for older adults. Toward that end, we have established five key research priorities and how to study them: cognitive impairment, medication safety, elder abuse, falls, and care transitions. Learn more below.

1.0 Priorities: Care Transitions

A large amount of evidence indicates that an ED visit is a period of vulnerability for older adults, especially as they transition back to the community, from the ED to home or a nursing home.

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1.0 Priorities: Cognitive Impairment-Delirium

Individuals identified as experiencing delirium in emergency departments are more likely to develop dementia as older adults. Yet, almost three decades of research has shown that delirium and dementia are under-recognized in emergency departments, despite a proliferation of screening tools.

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1.0 Priorities: Elder Abuse

There are opportunities to administer screening for elder mistreatment in the ER, with both screening tools in development and research funding from the National Institutes on Aging (NIA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) overall, the John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF), and others.

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1.0 Priorities: Falls

Falls range from minor to fatal; even minor falls can cause psychological distress and fear, leading older adults to feel dependent and chained to their bedrooms. In addition, stigma is a major problem so only a small percentage of older adults report their falls. Falling one time doubles an individual’s risk for falling again.

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