Functional Decline After Nonhospitalized Injuries in Older Patients: Results From the Canadian Emergency Team Initiative Cohort in Elders Journal Articles uri icon

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  • STUDY OBJECTIVE: To estimate the cumulative incidence of functional decline over 6 months following emergency department (ED) assessments of nonhospitalized injuries and to identify its main determinants. METHODS: We conducted a prospective multicenter cohort of older adults discharged home following assessment for injuries in 8 Canadian EDs. Participants were assessed at 3 time points: baseline in the ED, 3 months, and 6 months. The primary outcome, functional decline, was defined as a 2-points loss from baseline on the Older American Resources Scale (OARS). Other measures included demographics, comorbidities, injury characteristics, frailty, cognition, mobility status, etc. Cumulative incidences were estimated using proportions with 95% confidence intervals. Log-binomial regressions and the "least absolute shrinkage and selection operator" (LASSO) were used to identify significant functional decline determinants. RESULTS: Among 2,919 participants, 403 (13.8%) were lost to follow-up. Mean age was 76.2±7.6 years, 65.3% were women, 9% were frail, and 40.0% prefrail. Main injury mechanisms were falls (65.5%) and motor vehicle accidents (18.6%). The cumulative incidence of functional decline over 6 months was 17.0% (95% confidence interval 12.5% to 23.0%). Occasional use of walking devices, less than 5 outings/week, frailty, and older age were significant baseline determinants of functional decline. CONCLUSION: A significant 17% of older adults with "minor" injuries experience a persistent functional decline over 6 months following their ED visit. Four frailty-related determinants were identified: occasional use of a walking device, less than 5 outings/week, frailty, and older age. Further work is needed to assess if these can help ED clinicians screen seniors at risk and initiate interventions at discharge.


  • Sirois, Marie-Josée
  • Carmichael, Pierre-Hugues
  • Daoust, Raoul
  • Eagles, Debra
  • Griffith, Lauren
  • Lang, Eddy
  • Lee, Jacques
  • Perry, Jeffrey J
  • Veillette, Nathalie
  • Émond, Marcel

publication date

  • August 2022