How Can We Improve the Patient Experience for Older Adults?

With Lucas Silva

In this episode of GEMCast, host Dr. Christina Shenvi is joined by Dr. Lucas Silva for a conversation about the concept of patient experience and why it is important for older adult care in the emergency department. Learn about how patient experience is measured and interventions that can be used to improve patient experience.


Key Points

  • There is a correlation between improved patient experience and improved patient outcomes.
  • Many studies measure patient experience through patient satisfaction scores using surveys. However, patient experience is not just patient satisfaction.
  • Patient experience and patient satisfaction are not interchangeable terms. Two patients may receive the exact same care, which means they have the same patient experience, but they may have different satisfaction ratings due to their different expectations.
  • We need a better, standardized way to measure patient experience to allow us to assess different bundles of interventions that improve patient experience.
  • Isolated interventions are unlikely to make a difference. Using a bundle approach involving two or more interventions will be more effective.
  • The interventions that seem to be most effective include a dedicated team for care transition – a pharmacist for medication reconciliation for older adults being discharged from ED and a social worker to ensure vulnerable older adults have an appropriate follow-up.
  • Other relatively simple and inexpensive interventions include providing hearing aids, reading glasses, blankets, and distraction tools (puzzles, magazines, etc.). As well as keeping patients hydrated, oriented, and managing pain.


Lichen IM, Berning MJ, Bower SM, et al. Non-pharmacologic interventions improve comfort and experience among older adults in the Emergency Department. Am J Emerg Med. 2021;39:15-20. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2020.04.089 – View Article

Shankar KN, Bhatia BK, Schuur JD. Toward patient-centered care: a systematic review of older adults’ views of quality emergency care. Ann Emerg Med. 2014;63(5):529-550.e1. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.07.509 – View Article

Hughes JM, Freiermuth CE, Shepherd-Banigan M, et al.  Emergency Department Interventions for Older Adults: A Systematic Review. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019;67(7):1516-1525. doi:10.1111/jgs.15854 – View Article

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