Brief Report| Volume 22, ISSUE 4, P923-928.e5, April 2021

Emergency Department Interventions for Frailty (EDIFY): Front-Door Geriatric Care Can Reduce Acute Admissions



      The EDIFY program was developed to deliver early geriatric specialist interventions at the emergency department (ED) to reduce the number of acute admissions by identifying patients for safe discharge or transfer to low-acuity care settings. We evaluated the effectiveness of EDIFY in reducing potentially avoidable acute admissions.


      A quasi-experimental study.


      ED of a 1700-bed tertiary hospital.


      ED patients aged ≥85 years.


      We compared EDIFY interventions versus standard care. Patients with plans for acute admission were screened and recruited. Data on demographics, premorbid function, frailty status, comorbidities, and acute illness severity were gathered. We examined the primary outcome of “successful acute admission avoidance” among the intervention group, which was defined as no ED attendance within 72 hours of discharge from ED, no transfer to an acute ward from subacute-care units (SCU) within 72-hours, or no transfer to an acute ward from the short-stay unit (SSU). Secondary outcomes were rehospitalization, ED re-attendance, institutionalization, functional decline, mortality, and frailty transitions at 1, 3, and 6 months.


      We recruited 100 participants (mean age 90.0 ± 4.1 years, 66.0% women). There were no differences in baseline characteristics between intervention (n = 43) and nonintervention (n = 57) groups. Thirty-five (81.4%) participants in the intervention group successfully avoided an acute admission (20.9% home, 23.3% SCU, and 44.2% SSU). All participants in the nonintervention group were hospitalized. There were no differences in rehospitalization, ED re-attendance, institutionalization and mortality over the study period. Additionally, we observed a higher rate of progression to a poorer frailty category at all time points among the nonintervention group (1, 3, and 6 months: all P < .05).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Results from our single-center study suggest that early geriatric specialist interventions at the ED can reduce potentially avoidable acute admissions without escalating the risk of rehospitalization, ED re-attendance, or mortality, and with possible benefit in attenuating frailty progression.


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