Accreditation

Study: Infections are leading cause of elderly patient ER visits

Accreditation Insider, January 12, 2016

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Accreditation Insider!

A new study published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that infectious diseases are now the leading cause of emergency department (ED) visits by the elderly.  Researchers found that of 3 million ED visits by geriatric patients, 13.5% were for infectious diseases, more than for myocardial infarctions and congestive heart failure combined. Furthermore, 57% of infectious disease-related visits resulted in hospitalization.
"These findings reinforce the fact that [infectious diseases] continue to be an important problem in elderly adults—the fastest-growing population in the U.S. population—in an already stressed healthcare system," according to Tadahiro Goto, MD, from the University of Fukui Hospital in Japan, and colleagues.
The most common conditions were lower respiratory infections (26.2%), urinary tract infections (25.3%) and septicemia (18.9%). Of the three conditions, septicemia resulted in the most hospitalizations (32.2%) and the highest mortality rates (74.7%). 
Researchers suggest improving vaccination rates to decrease ED visits. Vaccination coverage amongst the elderly is much lower than for the general population, despite the fact that more than quarter of ED visits are for preventable lower respiratory infections like pneumonia and influenza. 



Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Accreditation Insider!

Most Popular