Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Emergency department discharge diagnosis and adverse health outcomes in older adults.

Hastings SN, Whitson HE, Purser JL, Sloane RJ, Johnson KS. Emergency department discharge diagnosis and adverse health outcomes in older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2009 Oct 1; 57(10):1856-61.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVES: To determine the relationship between the reason for an emergency department (ED) visit and subsequent risk of adverse health outcomes in older adults discharged from the ED. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. SETTING: ED. PARTICIPANTS: One thousand eight hundred fifty-one community-dwelling Medicare fee-for-service enrollees aged 65 and older discharged from the ED between January 2000 and September 2002. MEASUREMENTS: Independent variables were ED discharge diagnosis groups: injury or musculoskeletal (MSK) (e.g., fracture, open wound), chronic condition (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, heart failure), infection, non-MSK symptom (e.g., chest pain, abdominal pain), and unclassified. Adverse health outcomes were hospitalization or death within 30 days of the index ED visit. RESULTS: Injury or MSK was the largest ED diagnosis group (31.4%), followed by non-MSK symptom (22.2%), chronic condition (20.9%), and infection (7.8%); 338 (17.8%) had ED discharge diagnoses that were unclassified. In adjusted analyses, a discharge diagnosis of injury or MSK condition was associated with lower risk of subsequent adverse health outcomes (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.50-0.96) than for all other diagnosis groups. Patients seen in the ED for chronic conditions were at greater risk of adverse outcomes (HR = 1.86, 95% CI = 1.37-2.52) than all others. There were no significant differences in risk between patients with infections, those with non-MSK symptoms, and the unclassified group. CONCLUSION: Adverse health outcomes were common in older patients with an ED discharge diagnosis classified as a chronic condition. ED discharge diagnosis may improve risk assessment and inform the development of targeted interventions to reduce adverse health outcomes in older adults discharged from the ED.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.