Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Emergency rooms failing to meet seniors' needs

Date:
August 20, 2013
Source:
University of Waterloo
Summary:
Emergency departments are not meeting the needs of senior citizens, according to a new international study.

“We need to think about managing seniors in emergency rooms in a different way,” said Professor Hirdes.
Credit: Monkey Business / Fotolia

Emergency departments are not meeting the needs of senior citizens, according to a new international study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Related Articles


The study, which looked at patients over the age of 75 in emergency departments in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Iceland, India and Sweden, found that seniors have very different needs than the general population -- needs that are not being addressed well by current clinical practices or emergency department designs.

"The majority of older patients attending emergency departments are frail and dependent on others for help. They have distinct and often complex needs," said Professor John Hirdes from the University of Waterloo's School of Public Health and Health Systems and senior fellow of interRAI, the organization behind the study. "Traditional emergency departments are not equipped for geriatric assessment and intervention because they were designed and staffed to respond to severe acute illnesses and injuries."

"When you bring an already frail person into a chaotic hospital environment like an emergency department, the risk for misdiagnosis or inadequate care is high. There often aren't the trained specialists available, so geriatric conditions like delirium can be misdiagnosed as dementia," said Professor Hirdes.

The study found that 78 per cent of seniors arriving at emergency departments were dependent in activities of daily living, had a cognitive problem or had fallen in the past 90 days. The pattern was consistent across all nations.

26 per cent of seniors presenting at emergency departments displayed cognitive impairment, a six per cent increase prior to arrival. In 16 per cent of patients there was evidence of an acute change in mental state, suggesting the presence of delirium.

"We need to think about managing seniors in emergency rooms in a different way," said Professor Hirdes.

Staff training in geriatric care, changes in care delivery protocols and specialized department layouts with easily accessible facilities and sound management, would allow emergency rooms to better meet the needs of senior citizens.

"The absence of life-threatening injuries doesn't mean seniors and their families don't have serious health needs," said Professor Hirdes. "There is often the sense that seniors are wasting resources in emergency departments, which is simply untrue. Refining approaches to managing older patients would allow hospitals to meet the needs of the aging population while still providing traditional services to high-risk patients."

The findings are part of the most extensive international study on the characteristics and outcomes of older emergency department patients. Data were collected using a geriatric assessment tool developed by Waterloo researchers in collaboration with interRAI. The study measured the physical function and cognition of 2,282 patients in 13 emergency departments in 7 nations, including Canada. The Canadian arm of the study was led by Professor Hirdes and Andrew Costa, a PhD graduate in aging, health and well-being.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Waterloo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Leonard C. Gray, Nancye M. Peel, Andrew P. Costa, Ellen Burkett, Aparajit B. Dey, Palmi V. Jonsson, Prabha Lakhan, Gunnar Ljunggren, Fredrik Sjostrand, Walter Swoboda, Nathalie I.H. Wellens, John Hirdes. Profiles of Older Patients in the Emergency Department: Findings From the interRAI Multinational Emergency Department Study. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.05.008

Cite This Page:

University of Waterloo. "Emergency rooms failing to meet seniors' needs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820102512.htm>.
University of Waterloo. (2013, August 20). Emergency rooms failing to meet seniors' needs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820102512.htm
University of Waterloo. "Emergency rooms failing to meet seniors' needs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130820102512.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins