The ED use and non-urgent visits of elderly patients
Umut Gulacti1, Ugur Lok1, Murat Celik1, Nurettin Aktas1, Haci Polat2
1Department of Emergency Medicine, Adiyaman University Faculty of Medicine, 02040 Adiyaman, Turkey
2Department of Urology, Adiyaman University Faculty of Medicine, 02040 Adiyaman, Turkey
Keywords: Non-urgent; Prevalence; Visit; Main disease; Elderly patient; Emergency department
Objective: To evaluate the use of the emergency department (ED) by elderly patients, their non-urgent visits and the prevalence of main disease for ED visits.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on patients aged 65 years and over who visited the ED of a tertiary care university hospital in Turkey between January 2015 and January 2016 retrospectively.
Results: A total of 36,369 elderly patients who visited the ED were included in the study. The rate of ED visits by elderly patients was higher than their representation within the general population (p < 0.001). While the rate of elderly patients visiting polyclinics was 15.8%, the rate of elderly patients visiting the ED was 24.3% (p < 0.001). For both genders, the rates of ED visits for patients between 65 and 74 years old was higher than for other elderly age groups (p < 0.001). The prevalence of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) was the highest within the elderly population (17.5%, CI: 17.1–17.9). The proportion of ED visits for non-urgent conditions was 23.4%. Most of the ED visits were during the non-business hours (51.1%), and they were highest in the winter season (25.9%) and in January (10.2%). The hospitalization rate was 9.4%, and 37.9% of hospitalized patients were admitted to intensive care units.
Conclusion: The proportion of ED visits by elderly patients was higher than their representation within the general population. Elderly patients often visited the ED instead of a polyclinic. The rate of inappropriate ED use by elderly patients in this hospital was higher than in other countries.