Purpose: Frailty screening in the emergency department may identify frail patients at risk for adverse outcomes. This study investigated if the Dutch Safety Management Program (VMS) screener predicts outcomes in older patients in the emergency department.
Methods: In this prospective cohort study, patients aged 70 years or older presenting to the emergency department were recruited on workdays between 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM from May 2017 until August 2017. Patients were screened in four domains: activities of daily living, malnutrition, risk of delirium, and risk of falling. After 90 days of follow up, mortality, functional decline, living situation, falls, readmission to the emergency department, and readmission to the hospital were recorded. VMS was studied using the total VMS score as a predictor with ROC curve analysis, and using a cut-off point to divide patients into frail and non-frail groups to calculate positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV).
Results: A total of 249 patients were included. Higher VMS score was associated with 90-day mortality (AUC 0.65, 95% CI 0.54-0.76) and falling (AUC 0.67, 95% CI 0.56-0.78). VMS frailty predicted mortality (PPV 0.15, NPV 0.94, p = 0.05) and falling (PPV 0.22, NPV 0.92, p = 0.02), but none of the other outcomes.
Conclusion: In this selected group of patients, higher VMS score was associated with 90-day mortality and falls. The low positive predictive value shows that the VMS screener is unsuitable for identifying high-risk patients in the ED. The high negative predictive value indicates that the screener can identify patients not at risk for adverse medical outcomes. This could be useful to determine which patients should undergo additional screening