The CDC issued a new report on ED visits by people 65 and older, stating that 511 people per 1,000 in that age group visited an ED during the two-year period spanning 2009-10.
The rate increased with age. For instance, among people 85 and older, 832 per 1,000 visited an ED during the study period.
Also increasing by age were the rates of ED visits by nursing home residents; patients arriving by ambulance (29.2% of patients ages 65-74, compared with 54.3% of patients 85 and older); patients admitted to the hospital (32.4% of patients 65-74, compared with 43.4% of patients 85 and older); and ED visits caused by falls. Of the total visits among people 65 and older, 29% were related to injury.
Although 13% of the U.S. population is 65 and older, that rate is 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 EDs role in treating acute illness and injury in older adults and providing a pathway to these patients for hospital admission.