Emergency department presentations by older people for mental health or drug and alcohol conditions: A multicentre retrospective audit

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 2017, 20 (4), pp. 169 - 173
Issue Date:
2017-11-01
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© 2017 College of Emergency Nursing Australasia Purpose Emergency department presentations by older people associated with mental health and drug and alcohol related conditions are increasing. However, the characteristics of presentations by older people in Australia are largely unknown. The aim of this research was to explore the characteristics of older people presenting with mental health and drug and alcohol conditions. Procedures We used a retrospective electronic medical record audit to explore all emergency department presentations by older people 65 years and over for mental health and drug and alcohol related conditions over a 12 month period. Data were described using descriptive statistics. Finidngs There were 40,093 presentations; 2% (n = 900) were related to mental health or drug and alcohol related conditions. Presentations were mainly associated with primary mental or medical symptoms. The majority were female (n = 471; 53%). Predominate conditions were cognitive impairment (n = 234; 26%) and affective disorders (n = 233; 26.0%). Sixty-three percent of patients were admitted to a hospital ward. Over the study period 106 patients (242 episodes of care) represented. Principle conclusions Given the ageing population and increasing prevalence for mental health and drug and alcohol conditions, strategies are required to better recognise these conditions to reduce the burden on the health care system and improve health for older people.
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