UMEM Educational Pearls

Elderly patients (mean age of 84 years) living in the community who are seen and discharged from the Emergency Department due to illness or injury are at increased risk for further disability and functional decline for at least six months after their visit.  This is associated with increased mortality, cost and need for long term care in previously self-functioning individuals. *   When appropriate to discharge from the ED, we should consider discharge planning that includes coordination with care management services to be sure these individuals have adequate home support systems in place and access to close outpatient follow-up. 

*It should be noted that the risk is even greater after inpatient hospitalization.


Nagurney, Justine M. et al.Emergency Department Visits Without Hospitalization Are Associated With Functional Decline inOlder PersonsAnnals of Emergency Medicine, 2016; 69(4): 426 – 433.