We hypothesized that a geriatric chief complaint–based didactic curriculum would improve resident documentation of elderly patient care in the emergency department (ED).
A geriatric chief complaint curriculum addressing the 3 most common chief complaints—abdominal pain, weakness, and falls—was developed and presented. A pre- and postcurriculum implementation chart review assessed resident documentation of the 5 components of geriatric ED care: 1) differential diagnosis/patient evaluation considering atypical presentations, 2) determination of baseline function, 3) chronic care facility/caregiver communication, 4) cognitive assessment, and 5) assessment of polypharmacy. A single reviewer assessed 5 pre- and 5 postimplementation charts for each of 18 residents included in the study. We calculated 95% confidence and determined that statistical significance was determined by a 2-tailed z test for 2 proportions, with statistical significance at 0.003 by Bonferroni correction.
For falls, resident documentation improved significantly for 1 of 5 measures. For abdominal pain, 2 of 5 components improved. For weakness, 3 of 5 components improved.
A geriatric chief complaint–based curriculum improved emergency medicine resident documentation for the care of elderly patients in the ED compared with a non–age-specific chief complaint–based curriculum.