The epidemiology of dying within 48 hours of presentation to emergency departments: a retrospective cohort study of older people across Australia and New Zealand

Amy L Sweeny, Nemat Alsaba, Laurie Grealish, Kerina Denny, Bill Lukin, Andrew Broadbent, Ya-Ling Huang, Jamie Ranse, Kristen Ranse, Katya May, Julia Crilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Emergency department (ED) clinicians are more frequently providing care, including end-of-life care, to older people.

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the need for ED end-of-life care for people aged ≥65 years, describe characteristics of those dying within 48 hours of ED presentation and compare those dying in ED with those dying elsewhere.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study analysing data from 177 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. Data on older people presenting to ED from January to December 2018, and those who died within 48 hours of ED presentation, were analysed using simple descriptive statistics and univariate logistic regression.

RESULTS: From participating hospitals in Australia or New Zealand, 10,921 deaths in older people occurred. The 48-hour mortality rate was 6.43 per 1,000 ED presentations (95% confidence interval: 6.31-6.56). Just over a quarter (n = 3,067, 28.1%) died in ED. About one-quarter of the cohort (n = 2,887, 26.4%) was triaged into less urgent triage categories. Factors with an increased risk of dying in ED included age 65-74 years, ambulance arrival, most urgent triage categories, principal diagnosis of circulatory system disorder, and not identifying as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. Of the 7,677 older people admitted, half (n = 3,836, 50.0%) had an encounter for palliative care prior to, or during, this presentation.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide insight into the challenges of recognising the dying older patient and differentiating those appropriate for end-of-life care. We support recommendations for national advanced care planning registers and suggest a review of triage systems with an older person-focused lens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The epidemiology of dying within 48 hours of presentation to emergency departments: a retrospective cohort study of older people across Australia and New Zealand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this