Perceptions and expectations of health-related quality of life among geriatric patients seeking emergency care: A qualitative study

Scott M. Dresden, Danielle M. McCarthy, Kirsten G. Engel, D. Mark Courtney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL), encompassing social, emotional, and physical wellbeing is an important clinical outcome of medical care, especially among geriatric patients. It is unclear which domains of HRQoL are most important to geriatric patients and which domains they hope to address when using the Emergency Department (ED). The objective of this study was to understand which aspects of HRQoL are most valued by geriatric patients in the ED and what expectations patients have for addressing or improving HRQoL during an ED visit. Methods: This was a qualitative focus group study of geriatric ED patients from an urban, academic ED in the United States with > 16,500 annual geriatric visits. Patients were eligible if they were age > =65 years and discharged from the ED within 45 days of recruitment. Semi-structured pilot interviews and focus groups were conducted several weeks after the ED visit. Participants shared their ED experiences and to discuss their perceptions of the subsequent impact on their quality of life, focusing on the domains of physical, mental, and social health. Latent content and constant comparative methods were used to code focus group transcripts and analyze for emergent themes. Results: Three individuals participated in pilot interviews and 31 participated in six focus groups. Twelve codes across five main themes relating to HRQoL were identified. Patients recalled: (1) A strong desire to regain physical function, and (2) anxiety elicited by the emotional experience of seeking care in the emergency department, due to uncertainty in diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. In addition, patients noted both (3) interpersonal impacts of health on quality of life, primarily mediated primarily by social interaction, and (4) an individual experience of health and quality of life mediated primarily by mental health. Finally, (5) patients questioned if the ED was the right place to attempt to address HRQoL. Conclusions: Patients expressed anxiety around the time of their ED visit related to uncertainty, they desired functional recovery, and identified both interpersonal effects of health on quality of life mediated by social health, and an individual experience of health and quality of life mediated by mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number209
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Emergency medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Health related quality of life
  • Qualitative research
  • Recovery of function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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