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Patient assessment is a fundamental feature of community paramedicine, but the absence of a recognized standard for assessment practices contributes to uncertainty about what drives care planning and treatment decisions. Our objective was to summarize the content of assessment instruments and describe the state of current practice in community paramedicine home visit programs.
We performed an environmental scan of all community paramedicine programs in Ontario, Canada, and used content analysis to describe current assessment practices in home visit programs. The International Classification on Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) was used to categorize and compare assessments. Each item within each assessment form was classified according to the ICF taxonomy.
A total of 43 of 52 paramedic services in Ontario, Canada, participated in the environmental scan with 24 being eligible for further investigation through content analysis of intake assessment forms. Among the 24 services, 16 met inclusion criteria for content analysis. Assessment forms contained between 13 and 252 assessment items (median 116.5, IQR 134.5). Most assessments included some content from each of the domains outlined in the ICF. At the subdomain level, only assessment of impairments of the functions of the cardiovascular, hematological, immunological, and respiratory systems appeared in all assessments.
Although community paramedicine home visit programs may differ in design and aim, all complete multi-domain assessments as part of patient intake. If community paramedicine home visit programs share similar characteristics but assess patients differently, it is difficult to expect that the resulting referrals, care planning, treatments, or interventions will be similar.
In the fast pace of the Emergency Department (ED), clinicians are in need of tailored screening tools to detect seniors who are at risk of adverse outcomes. We aimed to explore the usefulness of the Bergman-Paris Question (BPQ) to expose potential undetected geriatric syndromes in community-living seniors presenting to the ED.
This is a planned sub-study of the INDEED multicentre prospective cohort study, including independent or semi-independent seniors (≥65 years old) admitted to hospital after an ED stay ≥8 hours and who were not delirious. Patients were assessed using validated screening tests for 3 geriatric syndromes: cognitive and functional impairment, and frailty. The BPQ was asked upon availability of a relative at enrolment. BPQ’s sensitivity and specificity analyses were used to ascertain outcomes.
A response to the BPQ was available for 171 patients (47% of the main study’s cohort). Of this number, 75.4% were positive (suggesting impairment), and 24.6% were negative. To detect one of the three geriatric syndromes, the BPQ had a sensitivity of 85.4% (95% CI [76.3, 92.0]) and a specificity of 35.4% (95% CI [25.1, 46.7]). Similar results were obtained for each separate outcome. Odds ratio demonstrated a higher risk of presence of geriatric syndromes.
The Bergman-Paris Question could be an ED screening tool for possible geriatric syndrome. A positive BPQ should prompt the need of further investigations and a negative BPQ possibly warrants no further action. More research is needed to validate the usefulness of the BPQ for day-to-day geriatric screening by ED professionals or geriatricians.
The consequences of minor trauma involving a head injury (MT-HI) in independent older adults are largely unknown. This study assessed the impact of a head injury on the functional outcomes six months post-injury in older adults who sustained a minor trauma.
This multicenter prospective cohort study in eight sites included patients who were aged 65 years or older, previously independent, presenting to the emergency department (ED) for a minor trauma, and discharged within 48 hours. To assess the functional decline, we used a validated test: the Older Americans’ Resources and Services Scale. The cognitive function of study patients was also evaluated. Finally, we explored the influence of a concomitant injury on the functional decline in the MT-HI group.
All 926 eligible patients were included in the analyses: 344 MT-HI patients and 582 minor trauma without head injury. After six months, the functional decline was similar in both groups: 10.8% and 11.9%, respectively (RR=0.79 [95% CI: 0.55–1.14]). The proportion of patients with mild cognitive disabilities was also similar: 21.7% and 22.8%, respectively (RR=0.91 [95% CI: 0.71–1.18]). Furthermore, for the group of patients with a MT-HI, the functional outcome was not statistically different with or without the presence of a co-injury (RR=1.35 [95% CI: 0.71–2.59]).
This study did not demonstrate that the occurrence of a MT-HI is associated with a worse functional or cognitive prognosis than other minor injuries without a head injury in an elderly population, six months after injury.
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