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A profile of elderly fallers attending the emergency department and their patterns of healthcare utilisation
Lang, Sophie L
<p><strong>Introduction: </strong>Falls are the commonest reason why an older person presents to the Emergency Department (ED) in Ireland and can account for 20-40% of attendances (Aminzadeh and Dalziel 2002). As the population ages it is anticipated that the incidence of falls will increase (Barrett et al, 2011). A profile of the elderly faller could identify the healthcare services in which this population relies on. <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Aims and Objectives: </strong>The aims of this study were to profile a sample of elderly fallers attending the ED of an Irish hospital. The objectives of the study were to examine prevalence and circumstances of these falls, to describe the socio-demographic and health profile of these patients and to document the healthcare utilisation among the sample.<strong></strong></p> <p><strong>Methods: </strong>This was a cross-sectional, observational study in which 93 participants were recruited at discharge from an Irish ED. A demographic profile along with healthcare utilisation was determined from the ED chart and Patient Administration System (PAS). Participants completed a questionnaire to determine the presence of frailty, a falls profile, and level of social support available.</p> <p><strong>Results: </strong>The mean age of participants was 76.5 years of age. Recurrent falls were noted in 46% of the sample. Polypharmacy was identified in 43 (55.8%) participants. Twenty (21.5%) participants belonged to a vulnerable social network type. Just over half (52.7%) of participants were identified at risk of decline. Seventeen (18.3%) of the 93 participants had a previous visit to the ED in the previous six months. High healthcare follow up was noted with 89.2% of participants referred to either community services or out-patient appointments.</p> <p><strong>Conclusions and implications: </strong>This study described an elderly population at risk of functional decline with high healthcare needs. The findings of this study could form the basis of the development of a standardised frailty screening and intervention programme for elderly fallers attending the ED and highlights missed opportunities for frailty management.</p> <p>A thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Science from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2016.</p>
Keyword(s): Emergency Department; Elderly Population; Fallers; Healthcare Utilisation; Frailty; Ireland; Medicine and Health Sciences
Publication Date:
Type: Master thesis (research)
Peer-Reviewed: No
Institution: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Citation(s): Lang SL. A profile of elderly fallers attending the emergency department and their patterns of healthcare utilisation [MSc Thesis]. Dublin: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; 2016.
Supervisor(s): Dr. Frances Horgan
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First Indexed: 2017-02-07 06:17:44 Last Updated: 2018-02-13 07:16:47