Navigation Links
ER Visits for Elderly Rise During Thanksgiving
Date:11/25/2009

Experts say family members can panic, underestimate effects of normal aging

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Thanksgiving is a time of eating turkey, gathering with family -- and sometimes taking your elderly loved one to the emergency room.

According to a New York City physician, here's why: When family members who have not seen each other in months gather during the holiday season, they are often alarmed by the health of their older relatives and rush them to the hospital, sometimes unnecessarily, said Dr. Tamara Kuittinen, director of medical education in the Department of Emergency Medicine, at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Kuittinen's observations are not exactly scientific, but over the years she and her colleagues have seen definite increases in the numbers of elderly patients seeking care in emergency departments during this time of year. Her colleague, Dr. Carl Ramsay, associate chairman of Lenox Hill's department of emergency medicine, said he sees a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in the number of elderly emergency department admissions during the holidays.

The cause is probably twofold: relatives often don't keep up with their loved one's health over the course of the year. So, when they get together, they are often shocked by the condition of the elderly family member. Also, Kuittinen added, children of aging parents often are not aware of how the normal aging process takes its toll on people, and they rush their loved one to a health-care provider.

"It's an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people," she said. "If you haven't seen your mom in six months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general."

To help patients and their families strive for better health throughout the year, Kuittinen recently came up with a health maintenance checklist to help relatives keep track of their loved ones.

  • Maintain a database of up-to-date critical medical information about your loved ones. The list should include their doctors' names, telephone numbers and addresses. In addition, know what medications they are taking, the dosages and any allergies they may have. Older patients often see several specialists and take multiple medications, which pose a real risk of dangerous drug interactions. If possible, get written permission from the relative to speak to his or her doctor if you have questions about treatment.
  • Make sure your relative has access to a list of emergency contact telephone numbers (including your own) programmed into their phones and posted on their refrigerator or other visible places.
  • Discuss the possibility of creating a living will or health-care proxy. Health-care proxies help doctors and other providers make decisions in the event the patient is unable to talk. Living wills address such complicated and emotional issues as when to give or withhold lifesaving resuscitation.
  • A once-a-year discussion about your loved one's health is not enough. Stay in contact with them. Regularly check in to see how they are doing. Make an effort to keep abreast of their conditions, medical tests and medications. Ask them if they are keeping their doctors' appointments.

Finally, for many patients, the emergency department should not be the first place they go. Ramsay cautions family members from taking their elderly relatives to the hospital unless absolutely necessary. All hospitals present a risk of exposure to infections and unnecessary tests, he noted.

First, seek guidance from the patient's own physician if possible, Ramsay said.

"The bottom line is that if someone is worried and they have no other access to medical care, then they should definitely go to the emergency room," Ramsay said.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an Eldercare Locator to find information and services provided by local community agencies.



SOURCES: Tamara Kuittinen, M.D., Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Carl Ramsay, M.D., Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Doctor Visits Are Getting Short Shrift in Tight Economy
2. Visits to Nanas may keep toddlers from developing negative age stereotypes
3. For Macho Men, Doctor Visits Are Less Likely
4. ER Visits Mostly by Medicare, Medicaid Recipients
5. SnoringIsntSexy.com Tops 21,000 Site Visits for Second Month in a Row
6. New Data Say Uninsured Account for Nearly One-Fifth of Emergency Room Visits
7. VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans Visits Dallas
8. The Hispanic got milk? Campaign Visits Chicago from July 2 - July 10
9. Finland Biotech Delegation Visits Sundia
10. Study finds virtual doctors visits satisfactory for both patients and clinicians
11. Phish Frontman Trey Anastasio Visits Capitol Hill to Support Drug Courts and Calls on Congress to Put a Drug Court Within Reach of Every American in Need
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In ... benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued ... Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an orthodontist ... has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile technology, ... , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can be used ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented ... in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the ... Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... National recruitment firm Slone Partners is pleased to announce ... experience, as Vice President of North American Capital Sales at HTG Molecular . ... sales team in the commercialization of the HTG EdgeSeq system and associated reagents in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report ... The report contains up to date financial data derived from ... of major trends with potential impact on the market during ... market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional and country ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any indication, the future ... today online at www.diabetesscholars.org by the Diabetes ... stand in the way of academic and community service ... scholarship program since 2012, and continues to advocate for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... "Surgical Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, China, Japan, ... report to their offering. ... tool for healthcare business planners, provides surgical procedure volume ... surgery trends with an in-depth analysis of growth drivers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: