Date of Award

11-2016

Document type

Thesis

Degree Name

MSc by research (Master of Science by research)

First Supervisor

Dr. Frances Horgan

Keywords

Emergency Department, Elderly Population, Fallers, Healthcare Utilisation, Frailty, Ireland

Abstract

Introduction: Falls are the commonest reason why an older person presents to the Emergency Department (ED) in Ireland and can account for 20-40% of attendances (Aminzadeh and Dalziel 2002). As the population ages it is anticipated that the incidence of falls will increase (Barrett et al, 2011). A profile of the elderly faller could identify the healthcare services in which this population relies on.

Aims and Objectives: The aims of this study were to profile a sample of elderly fallers attending the ED of an Irish hospital. The objectives of the study were to examine prevalence and circumstances of these falls, to describe the socio-demographic and health profile of these patients and to document the healthcare utilisation among the sample.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional, observational study in which 93 participants were recruited at discharge from an Irish ED. A demographic profile along with healthcare utilisation was determined from the ED chart and Patient Administration System (PAS). Participants completed a questionnaire to determine the presence of frailty, a falls profile, and level of social support available.

Results: The mean age of participants was 76.5 years of age. Recurrent falls were noted in 46% of the sample. Polypharmacy was identified in 43 (55.8%) participants. Twenty (21.5%) participants belonged to a vulnerable social network type. Just over half (52.7%) of participants were identified at risk of decline. Seventeen (18.3%) of the 93 participants had a previous visit to the ED in the previous six months. High healthcare follow up was noted with 89.2% of participants referred to either community services or out-patient appointments.

Conclusions and implications: This study described an elderly population at risk of functional decline with high healthcare needs. The findings of this study could form the basis of the development of a standardised frailty screening and intervention programme for elderly fallers attending the ED and highlights missed opportunities for frailty management.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

File Size

3.98MB

Comments

A thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Science from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2016.

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