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Identification of seniors at risk: process evaluation of a screening and referral program for patients aged > or =75 in a community hospital emergency department.

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  • 1School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada.


Reports on the authors' experience with a patient safety quality improvement program, intended to reduce the incidence and severity of adverse outcomes for emergency department (ED) patients aged > or = 75. The Identification of Seniors at Risk scale was used for screening, and those at high risk were referred for appropriate intervention. The plan-do-study-act improvement cycle was followed, conducting process evaluation to diagnose and correct implementation difficulties. Reports that: implementing an ED screening and referral program is deceptively difficult; process evaluation multidisciplinary working group meetings are an essential improvement tool; screening inclusion criteria had to be adapted to the subject population in order to make efficient use of staff time; the screening questions and process required ongoing assessment, revision, and local adaptation in order to be useful; and high-risk screening in the ED is critical to a hospital system's ability to anticipate clinical problems; the plan-do-study-act improvement cycle is a practical and useful tool for improving quality and systems in a real care setting.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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