As we get older, we become more susceptible to harm: Our bodies can take less physical trauma without breaking, and we become less able to avoid an injury. As a result, serious injuries involving seniors are fairly common.
Recently, hospitals have conducted research on the value of having a geriatrician on hand for senior citizens preparing to undergo surgery for a traumatic injury.
Research Finds Benefits to Having a Geriatric Specialist on Hand
Geriatricians, or geriatric physicians/specialists, provide care and treatment for conditions affecting the elderly. These doctors work to improve their patient's standard of living and to help their patients function independently for as long as possible. Currently there are about 7,500 board certified geriatricians in the United States.
A recent study published in the Journal of American College of Surgeons investigated the long term impact of requiring a geriatric specialist to consult with trauma surgeons, and to both mentally and physically assess patients aged 70 and over following their surgery. The study found that having a geriatric specialist on hand improved the outlook of older surgery patients markedly.
The assessments that the geriatric specialist performed on senior trauma surgery patients frequently found potential cognitive issues. Due to the assessments, referrals for further mental evaluation rose from 2.3% to 14.2%, and advanced directives spiked from 10.2% to 38.2%. By checking to make sure trauma surgery patients were mentally up to speed for their age, geriatric specialists were able to isolate instances where a senior citizen needed help, and got it for them.
Additionally, the study found that having an available geriatrician provide consultations and assessments likely decreased both the patient's 30-day mortality rate, and their readmission rate into the intensive care unit (ICU). While the study indicated that these rates fell with the involvement of a geriatrician, the differences were not statistically significant, due to the study's sample size.
Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help Get Compensation for Your Injuries
It seems like common sense to have a geriatrician involved in a trauma surgery for an elderly patient. However, this study finally provides some concrete numbers to back this notion up. It would be excellent to see hospitals throughout the local area adopt similar procedures to keep our senior citizens as healthy as possible.
If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic accident, having an experienced attorney alongside you throughout the process can make a significant difference. Call the law office of Gilman & Bedigian at (800) 529-6162 or contact us online.