A physiotherapy-led transition to home intervention for older adults following emergency department discharge: protocol for a pilot feasibility randomised controlled trial
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BACKGROUND: Older adults frequently attend the emergency department (ED) and experience high rates of adverse outcomes following ED presentation including functional decline, ED re-presentation and unplanned hospital admission. The development of effective interventions to prevent such outcomes is a key priority for research and service provision. This paper reports a protocol designed to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a three arm randomised controlled trial (RCT) within the ED setting and in the patient’s home. The interventions are comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA), ED PLUS and usual care. METHODS: The ED PLUS pilot trial is designed as a feasibility RCT conducted in the ED and Acute Medical Assessment Unit of a university teaching hospital in the mid-west region of Ireland. We aim to recruit 30 patients, aged 65 years and over presenting to the ED with undifferentiated medical complaints and discharged within 72 h of index visit. Patients will be randomised by a computer in a ratio of 1:1:1 to deliver usual care, CGA or ED PLUS during a 6-month study period. A randomised algorithm is used to perform randomization. CGA will include a medical assessment, medication review, nursing assessment, falls assessment, assessment of mobility and stairs, transfers, personal care, activities of daily living (ADLs), social supports and baseline cognition. ED PLUS, a physiotherapist led, multidisciplinary intervention, aims to bridge the transition of care between the index visit to the ED and the community by initiating a CGA intervention in the ED and implementing a 6-week follow-up self-management programme in the patient’s own home following discharge from the ED. The outcomes will be parameters of the feasibility of the intervention and trial methods and will be assessed quantitatively and qualitatively. DISCUSSION: Rising ED visits and an ageing population with chronic health issues render ED interventions to reduce adverse outcomes in older adults a research priority. This feasibility RCT will generate data and experience to inform the conduct and delivery of a definite RCT.
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