According to Nurses.com, the CDC issued a new report on ER visits by people 65 and older, stating that 511 people per 1,000 in that age group visited an ER during the two-year period spanning 2009-10. Among people 85 and older, 832 per 1,000 visited an ER during the study period.
The numbers of ER visits by nursing home residents also rose (29.2% of patients ages 65-74, compared with 54.3% of patients 85 and older). Of those patients, 32.4% of patients 65-74 were admitted.
According to the CDC report, ER rates are expected to climb to almost 20% by 2030.
“Given their growing proportion of the population, older individuals will comprise an increasing share of emergency department patients in the coming years,” the authors wrote in a National Center for Health Statistics data brief. “This is important because of the ED’s role in treating acute illness and injury in older adults and providing a pathway to these patients for hospital admission.”
One way to help reduce ER visits is to have a trained health aide in the home to monitor patients so that a health condition doesn’t worsen to the point where hospitalization is required. Many ER visits are attributed to home falls and improper medication dosing – both largely preventable with a home aide.