Why Does the Health of Seemingly Healthy Older Adults Begin to Deteriorate after Leaving the ED?
January 26, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
An older adult's visit to the emergency department (ED) often signals the start of serious health problems, according to a January 11, 2018, article in Kaiser Health News (KHN). A 2017 study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine underscores this, the article said. Older patients who visited an ED are 14% more likely to acquire a disability in the ensuing six months than older adults of the same age and health status who do not visit the ED, the study found. Illnesses and injuries that result in ED visits often signal the beginning of "a fairly vulnerable period of time for older persons," one of the study's authors said in the KHN article. Several reasons were posited for this, including that older adults who had been coping adequately suddenly may be "may be tipped into an 'I can't handle this any longer' state." This can cause their health to "spiral downward," the article said.