Emergency department visits in older people: pattern of use, contributing factors, geographical differences and outcomes

Carlotta Franchi, Massimo Cartabia, Paola Santalucia, Marta Baviera, Pier Mannuccio Mannucci, Ida Fortino, Angela Bortolotti, Luca Merlino, Valter Monzani, Antonio Clavenna, Maria Carla Roncaglioni, Alessandro Nobili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To assess the pattern of use of Emergency Departments (EDs), factors contributing to the visits, geographical distribution and outcomes in people aged 65 years or more living in the Italian Lombardy Region in 2012. Methods: Based on an administrative database the study population was divided into groups according to the number of ED visits. A multinomial logistic regression model was performed to compare the characteristics of each group. The Getis–Ord’s G statistic was used to evaluate the clusters of high and low visit prevalence odd ratios (OR) at district level. To estimate the severity of the disease leading to ED attendance, visits were stratified based on the level of emergency and outcome. Results: About 2 million older people were included in the analyses: 78 % had no ED visit, 15 % only 1, 7 % 2 or more. Male sex, age 85 years or more, high number of drugs, ED visits and hospital admissions in the previous year and the location of an ED within 10 km from the patient’s place were all factors associated with a higher risk to have more ED visits. Clusters of high and low prevalence of visits were found for occasional users. Overall, 83 % of ED visit with a low emergency triage code at admission had as visit outcome discharge at home. Conclusions: In older people several variables were associated with an increased risk to have a high number of ED visits. Most of the visits were done for non-urgent problems and significant geographic differences were observed for occasional users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Emergency departments
  • Older people
  • Outcomes
  • Spatial autocorrelation
  • Triage code

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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