The present study has been carried out to evaluate the current status of clinical, educational, social, ethical, and resource issues related to the care of the elderly among emergency physicians (EPs) and emergency nurses (ENs) in Italy. A questionnaire was designed by our scientific society, the Academy of Emergency Medicine and Care (AcEMC), and disseminated directly or by e-mail to a large number of EPs and ENs in several Emergency Departments (EDs) throughout Italy, as well as in a Swiss center. Of the questionnaires, 524 were filled out and returned. Responders were in the majority females [273 vs 239; 12 not available (NA)], and nurses [259 vs 207 physicians vs 54 auxiliary; 4 NA]. Responses to five questions appeared to be normally distributed, whereas other questions elicited interesting responses. In this study focusing for the first time on the EPs’ and ENs’ perception of a broad spectrum of issues related to the elderly emergency care, the Italian community of EPs and ENs seems to be rather comfortable with geriatric emergency medicine, but largely unsatisfied with healthcare out-of-hospital services. The lack of elderly-specific diagnostic and therapeutic post-discharge pathways is broadly appreciated, and the concept of medical futility is not explicitly included in the vast majority of Italian hospital protocols.
elderly, emergency department, survey, quality of care