Older adults make up a large number of the visits to the emergency room every year. They also stay longer and require more attention and resources than other patients. One of the biggest contributing factors to emergency department visits are diabetes complications.
Emergency room complications
Along with diabetes, some of the most common conditions that seniors deal with which may send them to the emergency room are kidney disease, heart disease, and congestive heart failure. All of these are serious conditions that can also be combined with other conditions.
According to Dr. Edward M. Castillo, associate adjunct professor at the University of California San Diego’s Department of Emergency Medicine, older patients are significantly more likely to suffer from multiple chronic conditions. This makes emergency care more complicated for seniors as well.
Dr. Castillo says that the efforts in emergency departments should be focused on how to enhance the quality of care given in emergency rooms for seniors for that reason.
A study done by the University of California San Diego found the following numbers on the most common conditions for seniors in the emergency room:
- 8% diabetes
- 5% pulmonary disease
- 1% kidney disease
- 16% congestive heart failure
- 1% peripheral vascular disease
Frequent users, those who visited emergency care at least six times or more in 2014, are more likely to be admitted than those who visit less frequently/fewer times.
The study highlights the fact that there is room for improvement in emergency departments. For example, there is room to improve cost and focusing on helping to improve the outcome of seniors visiting an emergency department.
The study, “Factors Associated with Geriatric Frequent Users of Emergency Departments,” included over 1.25 million patients that visited over 300 licensed hospitals.