New research points to better outpatient counselling as key to reducing patient disabilities

As odd as it might seem, elderly patients treated for illnesses or injuries in an emergency department are at increased risk of disability for up to six months afterward.

This was the conclusion of researchers who looked at data from 754 elderly patients treated at emergency departments (ED) without any further hospital stays. They used a pool of 813 additional seniors who did not visit the ED for comparison.

Although all study participants were similar in health at the outset, those who visited the ED had a 14 percent bump on a disability scale six months after their visit.

On the surface of it, one could quickly presume that visiting an ED precipitated the decline that followed. Researchers however looked beyond the simple causality and found declines actually had more to do with post visit care.

Researchers recommended increased discharge planning for those treated in emergency environments similar to what is given to patients leaving after a hospital stay.

This kind of research and resulting action can only help to sustain the elderly in their attempts to live independently. Aging in place is not only a less costly method of living out your senior years. But a home that is not outfitted properly to the needs of the occupant is much more likely to result in falls and other accidents that result in ED visits.  

Many of our clients want to age in place independently rather than go into an assisted living facility. In order to do this requires planning. And it means speaking to an attorney well before a crisis occurs. If your plan is to stay in place, then talk to us about planning for your senior years.