Emergency Dept Visit Rate Increases With Age Among Older Adults

About 7 percent of ED visits made by nursing home residents; peak of 24 percent in those aged 90+ years

emergency room sign

THURSDAY, June 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The emergency department visit rate increases with age among individuals aged 60 years and older, according to a June data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Jill J. Ashman, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to describe emergency department visits made by adults aged 60 years and older.

The researchers found that the emergency department visit rate was 43 visits per 100 persons aged 60 years and older in 2014 to 2017 and increased with age, from 34 to 86 visits per 100 persons aged 60 to 69 years and 90 years and older, respectively. About 7 percent of the emergency department visits were made by nursing home residents; this percentage increased with age, from 2 to 24 percent among those aged 60 to 69 years and 90 years and older, respectively. About 30 percent of patients who visited the emergency department arrived by ambulance; with age, this percentage also increased. In addition, the percentage of emergency department visits due to unintentional falls increased with age. Twenty-three percent of emergency department visits resulted in a hospital admission, with the percentage increasing with age.

"As the U.S. population continues to grow older, monitoring use and provision of emergency department services among this population may help inform the ability of emergency departments to handle the unique needs of older patients," the authors write.

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Physician's Briefing