While many seniors maintain healthy, active lives, things can still go awry. With one in five emergency department patients aged over 65, the EMF supports research seeking better ways to care for seniors.
This includes new ways to help protect seniors at a time when they are most vulnerable and frail with increased risk of acute confusion, falls, and infections during hospital admission.
Brisbane emergency clinicians developed Hospital in the Home to reduce unnecessary stress for aged care residents by enabling common procedures to be performed without transfer to the unfamiliar hospital environment.
Backed by an EMF grant, the study showed that with access to education, support and clinical advice, many general practitioners or aged care facility nursing staff can perform routine changing of catheters, wound care or blood transfusions capably.
Complementing this work is another project seeking to understand why aged care residents are transferred to the emergency department by investigating the decision-making behind the transfer.
Where hospital admission is unavoidable, the GEDI program is fast-tracking care of frail older people. Led by nurses trained in geriatrics, the program provides risk assessment, safe discharge planning, and liaison between hospital and aged care staff, families and general practitioners.
EMF funded research is also exploring pain management in hip fractures, and helping frail older patients transition back to the community following acute medical care in hospital.
According to guidelines developed to assist clinical decisions in the emergency department, treatments should be provided and escalated in accordance with patients’ needs and wishes, as well as their prognosis, anticipated progress and goals of care.
At a time when the needs of patients and their carers is higher, current research is reviewing end of life care in the emergency department, to ensure quality, coordinated care and support.
Our older population is extremely vulnerable during medical emergencies. Never more so than during the current COVID-19 pandemic which continues to stretch hospital resources worldwide. Our Covid-19 round is supporting research into how the pandemic has impacted emergency department presentations for older patients.
EMF has a strong focus on supporting research and effective planning to improve the care of older Australians in a medical emergency. Read more here.