Saturday, 1 June 2013

Demography is destiny: an agenda for geriatric emergency medicine in Australasia

photoEmergency departments in the future will inevitably be overwhelmed by the acute care needs of older people, according to this paper published in Emergency Medicine Australasia.

Dr Glenn Arendts, from the Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine at the University of Western Australia, and Dr Judy Lowthian, from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, have studied the trends in emergency health service usage by older people and the consequences of increasing hospitalisation rates in the elderly.

They suggest that current models of Emergency Department care are not likely to be sufficient to cope with the numerous challenges ahead associated with perssiting demand and the ever increasing load of chronic illness exacerbations and geriatric syndromes in an ageing population. Therefore, emergency research and policy development must venture beyond the walls of the acute hospital. They propose that through engagement and collaborative research with community-based providers, it will be possible to develop innovative evidence-based models of acute care that are not only cost-effective, but also ensure timely responses across the health system to manage the health and social care needs of older people.

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