4 years ago

Disparities in Treatment of Older Adults with Suicide Risk in the Emergency Department

Ivan Miller, Sarah A. Arias, Marian E. Betz, Daniel L. Segal, Edwin D. Boudreaux, Carlos A. Camargo
Background/Objective We described characteristics and treatment received for older (≥60 years) vs younger (<60 years) adult emergency department (ED) patients with suicide risk. Design Retrospective chart review. Setting An ED with universal screening for suicide risk. Participants Eligible charts included a random sample of adults (≥18 years) who screened positive for suicidal ideation (SI) in past 2 weeks and/or a suicide attempt (SA) within the past 6 months. Visit dates were from May 2014 to September 2016. Results A total of 800 charts were reviewed, with oversampling of older adults. Of the 200 older adults sampled, fewer older adults compared to younger adults (n = 600) had a chief complaint involving psychiatric behavior (53% vs 70%) or self-harm behavior (26% vs 36%). Although a higher number of older adults (93%) had documentation of current SI compared to younger adults (79%), fewer older adults (17%) reported SA in the past 2 weeks compared to younger adults (23%). Of those with a positive suicide screen who were discharged home, less than half of older adults received a mental health evaluation during their visit (42%, 95% CI 34–52) compared to 66% (95% CI 61–70) of younger adults who met the same criteria. Similarly, fewer older, than younger, adult patients with current SI/SA received referral resources (34%; 95% CI 26–43; vs 60%; 95% CI 55–65). Conclusions Significantly fewer suicidal older adult patients who were discharged home received a mental health evaluation when compared to similar younger adults. These findings highlight an important area for improvement in the treatment of older adults at risk for suicide.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15011

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