With the elderly population expected to increase significantly over the next few decades, healthcare systems understand the burden that is projected to come. With shortages of nurses and physicians, the healthcare industry is struggling to manage and prepare for the extensive treatments needed by the elderly population, including the additional services needed in trauma centers.
For many elderly adults, the risk for injury is quite significant, often resulting in emergency care. Finding ways in which to prevent and manage emergency care in the elderly population will be important to the management of our healthcare systems in the next several decades. Because nearly 10 percent of all current emergency room visits involve an injury to an elderly person, many social service organizations and healthcare teams are reaching out to the elderly in an effort to manage injuries more efficiently.
Rib fractures are a leading health concern among the elderly population. Because there is a decrease in bone density with age, the elderly are at a unique disadvantage to suffering rib fracture. In addition, with unstable gait and irregular mobility, there is a greater likelihood an elderly person will fall and harm themselves, resulting in fractures. With increased incidence for rib fractures, there is a risk for greater mortality, resulting in a public health and social concern in our communities.
Determining when to admit an elderly adult to the hospital for rib fractures is a key factor of concern for many healthcare teams. Without admission, there is a risk for greater mortality. However, with the increase in the number of seniors who require this type of medical attention, the healthcare systems will become burdened. If you, or someone you love, has recently fallen or experienced a complication with a rib fracture, it is important to understand the dynamics involved in the medical care decisions. Because physicians and healthcare teams are often burdened in the systems, the decision to discharge an elderly adult home, with a fracture of any type, may not be prudent. As a result, you must insist on hospital management of fractures, especially for adults over the age of 60.
While rib fracture injuries that result in more than six ribs often require intensive care, as a family member you must be well versed in the aspects of care involved. If you, or your parent, require admission to an intensive care unit for rib fractures, there is a greater likelihood of pulmonary complications and even the risk of death. With six or more rib fractures, even the best of hospital care may not provide the outcome you are looking for and may, ultimately, result in the loss of a loved one. The key, here, is to ensure the best care is given even when the odds are not in the patient’s favor.
With the next several years anticipated to bring about a burden to the healthcare system, the aging population is expected to experience significant changes in the extent and type of care given. Because the elderly population is at a greater risk for sudden and traumatic injury, emergency room visits are expected to increase in frequency. As a result, there may be a greater need for hospital admissions arising out of these injuries. With burdens to the system, many hospital staff may choose to avoid admission when possible. In the case of rib fractures, however, hospital admission for the patient over age 60 is almost always