Table of Contents
ISRN Psychiatry
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 413572, 5 pages
Research Article

The Psychogeriatric Patient in the Emergency Room: Focus on Management and Disposition

1School of Medicine, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA
2DeKalb Community Service Board, Decatur, GA 30031, USA
3Department of Physiology and Health Sciences, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA
4Department of Neurology & Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA

Received 26 December 2013; Accepted 13 February 2014; Published 10 March 2014

Academic Editors: C. Benjet, B. Biancosino, and I. M. Hunt

Copyright © 2014 Sherry Tang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The growing geriatric population in the United States (US) has prompted better understanding of treatment of the elderly in the hospital and emergency room (ER) settings. This study examines factors influencing the disposition of psychogeriatric patients after their initial presentation in the ER. Methods. Data was collected on patients 65 years of age or older arriving at the ER of a large urban hospital in the USA (January 2009–December 2010). Results. Of the total subjects ( ) included in the study, majority were females (66.3%) with an average age of 75.5 years. The chief complaint for psychogeriatric patients coming to the ER was delirium (61.6%). Caucasians were significantly more likely than African-American patients to get a psychiatric consult (33% versus 9%). Patients with delirium were less likely than patients with other psychiatric complaints to get a psychiatric consult in the ER (1.2% versus 47.2%) and less likely to be referred to a psychiatric inpatient unit compared to patients with other psychiatric complaints (2.4% versus 16.7%). Conclusion. Even though delirium is the most common reason for ER visits among psychogeriatric patients, very few delirium patients got a psychiatric consultation in the ER. A well-equipped geriatric psychiatry unit can manage delirium and associated causes.