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Factors associated with frequent use of emergency-department services in a geriatric population: a systematic review

Dufour Isabelle, Chouinard Maud-Christine, Dubuc Nicole, Beaudin Jérémie, Lafontaine Sarah et Hudon Catherine. (2019). Factors associated with frequent use of emergency-department services in a geriatric population: a systematic review. BMC Geriatrics, 19, e185.

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Frequent geriatric users of emergency departments (EDs) constitute a small group of individuals accounting for a disproportionately high number of ED visits. In addition to overcrowding, this situation might result in a less appropriate response to health needs and negative health impacts. Geriatric patients turn to EDs for a variety of reasons. A better understanding of the variables associated with frequent ED use will help implement interventions best suited for their needs.


This review aimed at identifying variables associated with frequent ED use by older adults.


For this systematic review, we searched Medline, CINAHL, Healthstar, and PsyINFO (before June 2018). Articles written in English or French meeting these criteria were included: targeting a population aged 65 years or older, reporting on frequent ED use, using an observational study design and multivariate regression analysis. The search was supplemented by manually examining the reference lists of relevant studies. Independent reviewers identified articles for inclusion, extracted data, and assessed quality with the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Studies Reporting Prevalence. A narrative synthesis was done to combine the study results. A sensitivity analysis was performed to evaluate the effect of removing the studies not meeting the quality criteria.


Out of 5096 references, 8 met our inclusion criteria. A high number of past hospital and ED admissions, living in a rural area adjacent to an urban center, low income, a high number of prescribed drugs, and a history of heart disease were associated with frequent ED use among older adults. In addition, having a principal-care physician and living in a remote rural area were associated with fewer ED visits. Some variables recognized in the literature as influencing ED use among older adults received scant consideration, such as comorbidity, dementia, and considerations related to primary-care and community settings.


Further studies should bridge the gap in understanding and give a more global portrait by adding important personal variables such as dementia, organizational variables such as use of community and primary care, and contextual variables such as social and economic frailty.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Date:Juillet 2019
Sujets:Sciences de la santé
Sciences de la santé > Sciences infirmières
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences de la santé > Module des sciences infirmières
Mots-clés:Review, emergency service, hospital, frequent use, frequent users, aged, département d'urgence, hôpital, utilisation fréquente, utilisateurs fréquents, personnes âgées
Déposé le:28 août 2019 00:34
Dernière modification:28 août 2019 00:34
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Creative Commons LicenseSauf indication contraire, les documents archivés dans Constellation sont rendus disponibles selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons "Paternité, pas d'utilisation commerciale, pas de modification" 2.5 Canada.

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