The impact of frailty Screening of Older adults with muLtidisciplinary assessment of those At Risk during emergency hospital attendance on the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of care (SOLAR): a randomised controlled trial

Trials. 2021 Aug 31;22(1):581. doi: 10.1186/s13063-021-05525-w.


BACKGROUND: Older people account for 25% of all Emergency Department (ED) admissions. This is expected to rise with an ageing demographic. Older people often present to the ED with complex medical needs in the setting of multiple comorbidities. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) has been shown to improve outcomes in an inpatient setting but clear evidence of benefit in the ED setting has not been established. It is not feasible to offer this resource-intensive assessment to all older adults in a timely fashion. Screening tools for frailty have been used to identify those at most risk for adverse outcomes following ED visit. The overall aim of this study is to examine the impact of CGA on the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of care in an undifferentiated population of frail older people with medical complaints who present to the ED and Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

METHODS: This will be a parallel 1:1 allocation randomised control trial. All patients who are ≥ 75 years will be screened for frailty using the Identification of Seniors At Risk (ISAR) tool. Those with a score of ≥ 2 on the ISAR will be randomised. The treatment arm will undergo geriatric medicine team-led CGA in the ED or Acute Medical Assessment Unit whereas the non-treatment arm will undergo usual patient care. A dedicated multidisciplinary team of a specialist geriatric medicine doctor, senior physiotherapist, specialist nurse, pharmacist, senior occupational therapist and senior medical social worker will carry out the assessment, as well as interventions that arise from that assessment. Primary outcomes will be the length of stay in the ED or Acute Medical Assessment Unit. Secondary outcomes will include ED re-attendance, re-hospitalisation, functional decline, quality of life and mortality at 30 days and 180 days. These will be determined by telephone consultation and electronic records by a research nurse blinded to group allocation.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained from the Health Service Executive (HSE) Mid-Western Regional Hospital Research Ethics Committee (088/2020). Our lay dissemination strategy will be developed in collaboration with our Patient and Public Involvement stakeholder panel of older people at the Ageing Research Centre and we will present our findings in peer-reviewed journals and national and international conferences.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04629690 . Registered on November 16, 2020.

PMID:34465368 | DOI:10.1186/s13063-021-05525-w

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