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J Am Geriatr Soc ; 70(2): 341-351, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526379


BACKGROUND: Evaluating older adults with cognitive dysfunction in emergency departments (EDs) requires obtaining collateral information from sources other than the patient. Understanding the challenges emergency clinicians face in obtaining collateral information can inform development of interventions to improve geriatric emergency care and, more specifically, detection of ED delirium. The objective was to understand emergency clinicians' experiences obtaining collateral information on older adults with cognitive dysfunction, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: From February to May 2021, we conducted semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 22 emergency physicians and advanced practice providers from two urban academic hospitals and one community hospital in the Northeast United States. Interviews lasted 10-20 min and were digitally recorded and transcribed. Interview transcripts were analyzed for dominant themes using a combined deductive-inductive approach. Responses regarding experiences before and during the pandemic were compared. RESULTS: Five major challenges emerged regarding (1) availability of caregivers, (2) reliability of sources, (3) language barriers, (4) time constraints, and (5) incomplete transfer documentation. Participants perceived all challenges, but those relating to transfer documentation were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSION: Emergency clinicians' perspectives can inform efforts to support caregiver presence at bedside and develop standardized communication tools to improve recognition of delirium and, more broadly, geriatric emergency care.

Caregivers/psychology , Cognitive Dysfunction/diagnosis , Communication Barriers , Emergency Service, Hospital , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Medical Records , Aged , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Male , New England , Qualitative Research
J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open ; 2(4): e12502, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1312727


OBJECTIVE: Given the variability in crisis standards of care (CSC) guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, we investigated the racial and ethnic differences in prioritization between 3 different CSC triage policies (New York, Massachusetts, USA), as well as a first come, first served (FCFS) approach, using a single patient population. METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients with intensive care unit (ICU) needs at a tertiary hospital on its peak COVID-19 ICU census day. We used medical record data to calculate a CSC score under 3 criteria: New York, Massachusetts with full comorbidity list (Massachusetts1), and MA with a modified comorbidity list (Massachusetts2). The CSC scores, as well as FCFS, determined which patients were eligible to receive critical care under 2 scarcity scenarios: 50 versus 100 ICU bed capacity. We assessed the association between race/ethnicity and eligibility for critical care with logistic regression. RESULTS: Of 211 patients, 139 (66%) were male, 95 (45%) were Hispanic, 23 (11%) were non-Hispanic Black, and 69 (33%) were non-Hispanic White. Hispanic patients had the fewest comorbidities. Assuming a 50 ICU bed capacity, Hispanic patients had significantly higher odds of receiving critical care services across all CSC guidelines, except FCFS. However, assuming a 100 ICU bed capacity, Hispanic patients had greater odds of receiving critical care services under only the Massachusetts2 guidelines (odds ratio, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.09 to 3.85). CONCLUSION: Varying CSC guidelines differentially affect racial and ethnic minority groups with regard to risk stratification. The equity implications of CSC guidelines require thorough investigation before CSC guidelines are implemented.