Emergency department (ED) staff comments frequently about how patients are poorly prepared to answer important medical questions. To determine if the impression that patients were or were not prepared, a total of 309 patients were all asked a series of important medical questions and were graded as positive (or prepared) if they answered the question completely or negative (unprepared) if they partially answered, did not answer, or changed their answer during the ED stay. The patient population was older (mean age, 60 years) and was seen at 1 specialty hospital. Results indicated that many people were not prepared with information about their allergies, medications, medical and surgical histories, and some, even their physician's names. Patients were least prepared to know about an advance directive (79%) or to know their complete medical history (70%). Results indicated that most patients (99%) were not prepared to answer at least 1 or more important medical questions. The discussion considers why patients and others are not prepared for an ED visit and provides examples of ways to help people better prepare for such a visit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine