Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Seniors Are Not Just Wrinkly Adults; They Have Special Needs in the ER

WASHINGTON — Emergency patients over the age of 74 have significantly different and more complex health and social needs than their younger counterparts, even after controlling for illness severity, which has important implications about aging populations and emergency departments of the future. The results of the most extensive international study of the characteristics and outcomes of older emergency patients to be reported to date were published online Tuesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine (“Profiles of Older Patients in the Emergency Department: Findings from the InterRAI Multinational Emergency Department Study”) http://tinyurl.com/npenmba.

“These patients have complex profiles before they come to the ER, and even more complicated needs once they get there,” said lead study author Leonard C. Gray, MD, PhD, of the Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. “Dependence on others and geriatric illnesses, such as cognitive impairment and mobility problems, affect the majority of older emergency patients across a wide range of nations with different health systems and cultural contexts. They require specialized care to avoid missed diagnoses, pressure ulcers and a range of other potential problems associated with this particular population.”

Researchers examined medical records for 2,282 patients older than 74 in 13 different emergency departments in seven countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Iceland, India and Sweden). Functional and cognitive problems increased dramatically after patients arrived at the emergency department.

More than one-third (37 percent) of patients had a recent fall, prior to coming to the emergency department.

Prior to visiting the emergency department, nearly half (46 percent) were dependent on others in one or more activities of daily living; after coming to the emergency department, only 33 percent were completely independent in all activities. In the emergency department, 26 percent displayed symptoms of cognitive impairment, whereas before coming to the ER only 20 percent had cognitive difficulties. Before coming to the ER, 26 percent of older patients could not walk without supervision; after coming to the ER, that number rose to 49 percent.

“Frailty, confusion and dependence on others make these our most fragile emergency patients,” said Dr. Gray. “Specialized training in geriatric care and even specialized layout and procedures can help us provide the best assessment and care. The growing prevalence of older patients in ERs around the world suggests a need for careful scrutiny of current clinical practice and design of emergency departments worldwide.”

Annals of Emergency Medicine is the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians, the national medical society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research, and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. For more information, visit www.acep.org.

RELATED ARTICLES

HGH EMS Rescue Says Burning Man 'Lessons' Will Be Invaluable Moving Forward

HGH EMS Rescue issues a statement after being notified that their four-year contract providing medical care at the annual counter-culture festival has been t...

Richmond Ambulance Authority Receives American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Recognition Award

AHA honors Richmond Ambulance Authority for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Onspot Announces the Addition of an Eastern Canada Regional Manager

Daniel replaces Pat Freyer who has covered this region for the past 26 years. Pat will continue on with Onspot as President and CEO.

EMS Compass Initiative Looks to Community for Input

EMS Compass brings together many of the nation’s leading minds in EMS, healthcare and performance improvement, including the expertise of the Institute for H...

FLIR Adds New Member to Family of FSX-enabled Firefighting Cameras

The K45 with FSX presents accurate thermal images on a bright, large 4” LCD display, allowing firefighters to navigate safely and make accurate decisions whe...

Drager Joins Forces with Code 3 for a Cure to Address Firefighter Cancer

The two organizations formally announced their alliance at FDIC International, the world’s largest firefighter training conference in the United States, held...

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers