Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 22(1) April 2019 : 23-29.doi:10.12927/hcq.2019.25840
Caring for Seniors

How Do Older Adults Decide to Visit the Emergency Department? Patient and Caregiver Perspectives

Sharon Marr, Loretta M. Hillier, Diane Simpson, Sigrid Vinson, Sarah Goodwill and David Jewell


Seniors account for a high number of emergency department (ED) visits, yet little is known about how they decide to visit the ED. This paper reports on the results of surveys completed by 264 seniors who visited the ED and their caregivers and interviews with a subset (N = 51) of survey respondents, aimed at understanding how they decide to visit the ED. Although older adults rely on others to help them decide whether to visit the ED, only a small proportion consult healthcare providers in doing so. Opportunities exist for enhancing seniors' decision-making process regarding ED visits and access to community-based healthcare to avoid ED visits.



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