Navigation Links
Seniors Avoid ER at Start of Month
Date:4/4/2008

Researcher suggests they might want to avoid theft of Social Security checks

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that senior citizens in Baltimore seem to avoid visiting the emergency room around the beginning of each month, possibly because they want to stay home and make sure no one steals their Social Security checks.

The findings could help doctors get a better handle on fluctuations in when the elderly seek medical care, said study author Dr. David Jerrard, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Maryland. "We feel that this is a real phenomenon, a real trend."

Jerrard said he's noticed for some time that older patients were less likely to show up around the beginning of the month.

"Our patient load would drop off precipitously," he said. "Some of the patients would tell us that they'd made a point of staying home when their checks were sent out. A lot of them were fearful that the checks would be stolen."

In the new study, Jerrard and colleagues looked at two years of statistics about visits by people older than 62 to the emergency department of the Veterans Administration hospital in Baltimore.

They examined the number of patients who visited the center on 96 dates between December 2003 and November 2005. They didn't look at Sundays and holidays, when mail is not delivered.

The findings were expected to be released April 4 at the International Conference on Emergency Medicine in San Francisco.

The researchers found that an average of 30 patients visited the ER during dates in the middle of the month, compared to just 23 patients for each of the two days at the beginning of the month, when Social Security checks typically arrive.

By contrast, there was hardly any change in the number of patients under the age of 62 visiting the ER on the other days of the month.

Jerrard and colleagues had previously reported that some patients postpone ER visits, because they want to watch sporting events.

Jerrard said he can't confirm that the patients avoided the ER because they feared their Social Security checks would be stolen. It's also not clear if the patients who stayed home suffered medical consequences, although Jerrard plans to study that issue.

Many patients wouldn't be in danger by waiting a few hours or a couple days, he said. "But we'd be concerned about patients trying to struggle through a couple days of chest pain, or if they're sitting around with abdominal pain trying to tough it out."

Dr. James S. Goodwin, director of the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said the study is "clever" and appears valid.

"Physicians and others caring for low-income elderly are well aware of the Social Security check phenomenon," he said. "Older people living in certain low-income neighborhoods have a realistic fear of crime. They want to be there when the check comes, so they can get it cashed and pay what they owe, but also because of the fear that someone else might take it. I would imagine that any other routine activity was also much less likely to occur in those first two days of the month, whether it was shopping, or getting a haircut, or something more important like going to the ER."

Direct deposit to a bank could be a solution, Goodwin said, but poor seniors may mistrust banks or not have an account.

In other developments reported at the International Conference on Emergency Medicine, University of Rochester researchers reported that seniors who spend more than six hours in the ER are much less likely to be discharged than others. Another study from Michigan researchers reported that about 19 percent of seniors who come to the ER from home are discharged to a nursing home.

More information

Learn about direct-deposit Social Security checks from the federal government.



SOURCES: David Jerrard, M.D., associate professor, emergency medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore; James S. Goodwin, M.D., George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine, and director, Sealy Center on Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston; April 4, 2008, presentations, International Conference on Emergency Medicine, San Francisco


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Oral Health a Matter of Life and Death for Seniors
2. GAO Report Confirms: Medicare Underpays for Anesthesia Services; Nurse Anesthetists Assure Seniors Access to Safe Anesthesia Care
3. Seniors Need a Safety Plan in Face of Disasters
4. High Co-Pays Cause Seniors to Go Without Meds
5. Study finds drug spending caps cause some seniors to quit taking key medicines
6. Medicare Spending Caps Cause Seniors to Stop Meds
7. New Report: Dangerous Drug Side Effects and Deaths Doubled Since 1998... Seniors Hit Hardest
8. Medicare Cuts to Physicians Will Harm Washington Seniors
9. Obesity Wont Affect Seniors Memory
10. Study finds drug spending caps cause some seniors to quit taking key medicines
11. New York Times Exposes Harm to Seniors After Private Equity Buyouts of Nursing Homes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Seniors Avoid ER at Start of Month
(Date:6/24/2017)... ... June 24, 2017 , ... The Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ ... Bayfront and Erie Convention Center on June 8-10. The weekend consisted of ... bowl, award and scholarship presentations, and professional networking. , On Friday June ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... , ... June 24, 2017 , ... The weather is ... time outdoors. Home and business owners should be aware that the summer months provide ... In fact, mechanical locks and keys can be negatively affected from direct exposure to ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... The Rhode Island ... Care Management Alerts and Dashboards, an innovative new service enabling healthcare providers to ... Care Management Alerts and Dashboards provide near real-time data about patients admitted to ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... By scoring 100% for fiscal ... four-star rating from premier online charity evaluator, Charity Navigator, validating ANRF's work as a ... all charities reviewed by Charity Navigator and earns ANRF a spot on their “ ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 24, 2017 , ... Studies show evidence that ... the risk of visual loss in these patients. , But how often do ophthalmologists ... smoking cessation to patients at risk of or with early symptoms of AMD? A ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/2/2017)... , June 2, 2017  NxStage Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... care, today announced new findings demonstrating positive biochemical outcomes ... System One™. The data will be presented at ... Madrid, Spain . ... Improve Home Dialysis Network in Europe ...
(Date:5/30/2017)... AVIV, Israel , May 30, 2017 ... stage pharmaceutical Company specializing in the development of ... will present a company overview at three upcoming ... The 7th Annual LD Micro Invitational: ... Date:                     ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... May 24, 2017  ivWatch LLC today announced ... (OEM) Board to enable seamless integration of ivWatch,s ... systems, infusion pumps and other devices. By integrating ... able to help health care customers deliver a ... related to IV therapy. "The ivWatch ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: