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A growing number of frail older adults are treated in the emergency department (ED) and discharged home. There is an unmet need to identify older adults that are predisposed to functional decline and repeat ED visits so as to target them with proactive interventions.
A prospective cohort study was conducted in patients 75 years or older who were being discharged from the ED. The objective was to test the value of frailty screening tests, namely 5-meter gait speed and handgrip strength, to predict repeat ED visits at 1 and 6 months and functional decline at 1 month using multivariable logistic regression.
After excluding 7 patients lost to follow-up, 150 patients were available for analysis. The mean age was 81.1 ± 4.9 years with 51% females, 13% arriving by ambulance, and 67% having at least two comorbid conditions. At ED discharge, 41% of patients were found to have slow gait speed, whereas 23% had weak handgrip strength. After adjustment, only slow gait speed was independently associated with functional decline at 1 month (odds ratio [OR] 1.39 per 0.1 meters/second decrement, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12 to 1.72) and repeat ED visits at 6 months (OR 1.20 per 0.1 meters/second decrement, 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.42).
Gait speed can be feasibly measured at the time of ED discharge to identify frail older adults at risk for early functional decline and subsequent return to the ED. Conversely, grip strength was not found to be associated with functional decline or ED visits.
To describe the current state of academic emergency medicine (EM) funding in Canada and develop recommendations to grow and establish sustainable funding.
A panel of eight leaders from different EM academic units was assembled. Using mixed methods (including a literature review, sharing of professional experiences, a survey of current EM academic heads, and data previously collected from an environmental scan), 10 recommendations were drafted and presented at an academic symposium. Attendee feedback was incorporated, and the second set of draft recommendations was further distributed to the Canadian Association Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Section for additional comments before being finalized.
Recommendations were developed around the funding challenges identified and solutions developed by academic EM university-based units across Canada. A strategic plan was seen as integral to achieving strong funding of an EM unit, especially when it aligned with departmental and institutional priorities. A business plan, although occasionally overlooked, was deemed an important component for planning and sustaining the academic mission. A number of recommendations surrounding philanthropy consisted of creating partnerships with existing foundations and engaging multiple stakeholders and communities. Synergy between academic and clinical EM departments was also viewed as an opportunity to ensure integration of common missions. Education and networking for current and future leaders were also viewed as invaluable to ensure that opportunities are optimized through strong leadership development and shared experiences to further the EM academic missions across the country.
These recommendations were designed to improve the financial circumstances for many Canadian EM units. There is a considerable wealth of resources that can contribute to financial stability for an academic unit, and an annual networking meeting and continuing education on these issues will facilitate more rapid implementation of these recommendations.
Emergency departments (EDs) are recognized as a high-risk setting for prescription errors. Pharmacist involvement may be important in reviewing prescriptions to identify and correct errors. The objectives of this study were to describe the frequency and type of prescription errors detected by pharmacists in EDs, determine the proportion of errors that could be corrected, and identify factors associated with prescription errors.
This prospective observational study was conducted in a tertiary care teaching ED on 25 consecutive weekdays. Pharmacists reviewed all documented prescriptions and flagged and corrected errors for patients in the ED. We collected information on patient demographics, details on prescription errors, and the pharmacists’ recommendations.
A total of 3,136 ED prescriptions were reviewed. The proportion of prescriptions in which a pharmacist identified an error was 3.2% (99 of 3,136; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.5–3.8). The types of identified errors were wrong dose (28 of 99, 28.3%), incomplete prescription (27 of 99, 27.3%), wrong frequency (15 of 99, 15.2%), wrong drug (11 of 99, 11.1%), wrong route (1 of 99, 1.0%), and other (17 of 99, 17.2%). The pharmacy service intervened and corrected 78 (78 of 99, 78.8%) errors. Factors associated with prescription errors were patient age over 65 (odds ratio [OR] 2.34; 95% CI 1.32–4.13), prescriptions with more than one medication (OR 5.03; 95% CI 2.54–9.96), and those written by emergency medicine residents compared to attending emergency physicians (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.18–4.14).
Pharmacists in a tertiary ED are able to correct the majority of prescriptions in which they find errors. Errors are more likely to be identified in prescriptions written for older patients, those containing multiple medication orders, and those prescribed by emergency residents.
Managers of emergency departments (EDs), governments and researchers would benefit from reliable data sets that characterize use of EDs. Although Canadian ED lists for chief complaints and triage acuity exist, no such list exists for diagnosis classification. This study was aimed at developing a standardized Canadian Emergency Department Diagnosis Shortlist (CED-DxS), as a subset of the full International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, with Canadian Enhancement (ICD-10-CA).
Emergency physicians from across Canada participated in the revision of the ICD-10-CA through 2 rounds of the modified Delphi method. We randomly assigned chapters from the ICD-10-CA (approximately 3000 diagnoses) to reviewers, who rated the importance of including each diagnosis in the ED-specific diagnosis list. If 80% or more of the reviewers agreed on the importance of a diagnosis, it was retained for the final revision. The retained diagnoses were further aggregated and adjusted, thus creating the CED-DxS.
Of the 83 reviewers, 76% were emergency medicine (EM)–trained physicians with an average of 12 years of experience in EM, and 92% were affiliated with a university teaching hospital. The modified Delphi process and further adjustments resulted in the creation of the CED-DxS, containing 837 items. The chapter with the largest number of retained diagnoses was injury and poisoning (n = 292), followed by gastrointestinal (n = 59), musculoskeletal (n = 55) and infectious disease (n = 42). Chapters with the lowest number retained were neoplasm (n = 18) and pregnancy (n = 12).
We report the creation of the uniform CED-DxS, tailored for Canadian EDs. The addition of ED diagnoses to existing standardized parameters for the ED will contribute to homogeneity of data across the country.
The emergency department (ED) environment requires physicians to focus on workflow efficiency (WFE) and manage ED throughput. We sought to determine whether an interactive workshop could be designed and favourably perceived by emergency physicians and residents as a means to improve their self-assessed WFE skills.
The authors designed a 4-station workshop to simulate key components of ED throughput. These included resource management in 1) acute care, 2) minor care, 3) charting and 4) communication skills and patient sign-overs. Anonymous surveys were completed after each workshop using 5-point Likert scales and qualitative responses. Qualitative data encompassed participants' past WFE training experiences and perspectives on the current workshop. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The workshops were administered on 2 separate occasions to different groups of physicians. The first occasion was primarily for residents and the second session was only for practising physicians.
A total of 22 residents and 24 practising physicians participated. Evaluations were completed by 45 of 46 participants. Ratings of “definitely helpful” or “helpful” as noted for each station were received by 37 of 44 respondents for the sign-over and communication station, by 37 of 44 for the minor care station, by 41 of 44 for the acute care station and by 33 of 43 for the effective charting station. Among all participants, 42 of 45 reported that they felt the overall workshop experience was “helpful” or “definitely helpful.”
ED management “flow skills” are valued yet undertaught. A flow workshop designed to improve self-perceived WFE skills yields positive evaluations. Teaching this competency in a workshop setting is both feasible and appreciated by participants. Similar efforts should be considered for inclusion in both graduate and continuing medical education curricula.
It has been suggested that continuity of care is hampered because of the lack of communication between emergency departments (EDs) and primary care providers. A web-based, standardized communication system (SCS) that enables family physicians (FPs) to visualize information regarding their patients' ED visits was developed. This paper aims to evaluate the impact of this SCS on continuity of care.
We conducted an open, 4-period crossover, cluster-randomized controlled trial of 23 FP practices. During the intervention phase, FPs received detailed reports via SCS, while in the control phase they received mailed copies of the ED notes. Continuity of care was evaluated with a web questionnaire completed by FPs 21 days after the ED visit. The primary measures of continuity of care were knowledge of ED visit (quality and quantity), patient management and follow-up rate.
We analyzed a total of 2022 ED visits (1048 intervention and 974 control). The intervention group received information regarding the ED visit more often (odds ratio [OR] 3.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.6–3.79), found the information more useful (OR 5.1, 95% CI 3.49–7.46), possessed a better knowledge of the ED visit (OR 6.28, 95% CI 5.12–7.71), felt they could better manage patients (OR 2.46, 95% CI 2.02–2.99) and initiated actions more often following receipt of information (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.36–1.93). However, there was no significant difference in the follow-up rate at FPs offices (OR 1.25, 95% CI 0.97–1.61).
The use of SCS between an ED and FPs led to significant improvements in continuity of care by increasing the usefulness of transferred information and by improving FPs' perceived patient knowledge and patient management.
Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is a simple and cost-effective treatment for acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Our objectives were to determine the frequency of ASA administration in the emergency department (ED) for patients with acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina, and to identify patient characteristics associated with its administration.
This is a retrospective chart review of patients discharged with a final diagnosis of ACS. Data on age, gender, mode of presentation, presence of chest pain at triage, administration of ASA or not in the ED, dosage and form of ASA received, timing of administration, presence of contraindications to ASA and use of regular ASA prior to ED presentation were recorded.
Six hundred and one charts were analyzed. Five hundred and fifty patients (91.5%) received ASA. Only 444 (73.9%) of these 550 patients were administered the ASA appropriately, according to the American Heart Association / American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) guidelines. Univariate analysis showed that chart notes “Transport by ambulance,” “Allergy to ASA” and “Gastrointestinal bleed” were associated with a lower probability of the patient being administered ASA. If a patient was noted as taking ASA regularly, it increased the chance of this patient being administered ASA in the ED.
Although the study ED performed well, administering ASA to 91.5% of patients with ACS, only 73.9% of the patients who received ASA were administered the ASA appropriately, as recommended in the AHA/ACC guidelines. Educational strategies and system changes are necessary to increase the proportion of eligible ACS patients who receive appropriate ASA therapy.
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