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Older Patients & Motor Vehicle Crashes

Older Patients & Motor Vehicle Crashes

According to current estimates, there are about 30 million licensed drivers in the United States aged 65 and older, but this figure is expected to jump to 57 million by 2030. Studies indicate that drivers aged 65 and older have higher rates of motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) per mile driven. Data also show that older motorists have higher rates of death and serious injury and incur greater costs for acute care and rehabilitation. “MVCs are the second leading cause of injury-related death among adults aged 65 and older,” says Jody A. Vogel, MD, MSc. “As the U.S. population ages, EDs will need to be prepared with appropriate resources and protocols to care for older adult MVC patients effectively.” Previous research has investigated the care of older adults with MVC-related injuries, but these analyses tend to focus mostly on how pain is managed and the inpatient characteristics of these patients. Few studies have compared ED visits after MVCs by older individuals with data on younger patients. It has been suspected that older MVC patients require more ED resources and are more likely to be admitted to the hospital after these events when compared with younger MVC patients. Taking a Closer Look In a study published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Vogel and colleagues used a national population-based dataset to describe the epidemiology of ED visits by older adults for MVCs. The study group compared the characteristics of MVC-related ED visits by older and younger adults in terms of EMS arrival, visit acuity, use of imaging studies, and injury diagnoses. They also compared the likelihood of hospitalization for...
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