30‐Day Emergency Department Revisit Rates among Older Adults with Documented Dementia

Tyler Kent BS , Adriane Lesser MS, Juhi Israni MS, Ula Hwang MD, MPH, Christopher Carpenter MD, MS Kelly J. Ko PhD

Contributing GEDC Faculty

Chris Carpenter


Dr. Chris Carpenter is dual-board certified in Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine and is Professor in Emergency Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. His funded research interests include diagnostics, dementia, falls prevention, and implementation science. He is on the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Board of Directors as well as the American College of Emergency Physicians Clinical Policy Committee. He is also Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Academic Emergency Medicine, Associate Editor of both Annals of Internal Medicine’s ACP Journal Club and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. He co-led the collaboration to develop the American College of Emergency Physician/American Geriatrics Society Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines As well as the International Standards for Reporting of Implementation Research (StaRI) reporting guidelines. He is also faculty for Emergency Medical Abstracts and Best Evidence in Emergency Medicine courses, as well as a contributor to Skeptics Guide to Emergency Medicine and Sketchy EBM.

Ula Hwang


Dr. Ula Hwang is the Medical Director for Geriatric Emergency Medicine at New York University and a core investigator at the GRECC (Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center) at the James J. Peters Bronx VAMC. Her research focuses on improving the quality of care older adults receive in the ED setting that ranges from observational studies of analgesic safety and effectiveness in older patients to multi-center implementation science studies of geriatric emergency care interventions. Hwang currently co-PIs the Geriatric Emergency Department Collaborative and is the PI on the Geriatric Emergency care Applied Research (GEAR) network.



Published literature on national emergency department (ED) revisit rates among older adults with dementia is sparse, despite anecdotal evidence of higher ED utilization. Thus we evaluated the odds ratio (OR) of 30‐day ED revisits among older adults with dementia using a nationally representative sample.


We assessed the frequency of claims associated with a 30‐day ED revisit among Medicare beneficiaries with and without a dementia diagnosis before or at index ED visit. We used a logistic regression model controlling for dementia, age, sex, race, region, Medicaid status, transfer to a skilled nursing facility after ED, primary care physician use 12 months before index, and comorbidity.


A nationally representative sample of claims data for Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older who maintained continuous fee‐for‐service enrollment during 2015 and 2016. Only outpatient claims associated with an ED visit between January 2016 and November 2016 were included as a qualifying index encounter.

We identified 240 249 patients without dementia and 54 622 patients for whom a dementia code was recorded in the year before the index encounter in 2016.


Our results indicate a significant difference in unadjusted 30‐day ED revisit rates among those with an ED dementia diagnoses (22.0%) compared with those without (13.9%). Our adjusted results indicated that dementia is a significant predictor of 30‐day ED revisits (P < .0001). Those with a dementia diagnosis at or before the index ED visit were more likely to have experienced an ED revisit within 30 days (OR = 1.27; 95% confidence interval = 1.24‐1.31).


Dementia diagnoses were a significant predictor of 30‐day ED revisits. Further research should assess potential reasons why dementia is associated with markedly higher revisit rates, as well as opportunities to manage and transition dementia patients from the ED back to the community more effectively. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:2254–2259, 2019

Full Article at Wiley Online Library

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