Growing Old in the Emergency Department

The research team were concerned that older patients requiring emergency admission seemed to wait longer for a hospital bed, and as such were disproportionately affected by Emergency Department overcrowding. To investigate this theory and explore any changes over time, a ten year dataset (2005-2014 inclusive) was extracted from the information systems at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. This research examines the changing age profile of ED patients, identifies the relationship between age and the total time spent in the Emergency Department (Patient Experience Time (PET)), and examines the public belief that EDs are busiest in winter when reports of overcrowding and elderly patients waiting on trolleys get most media attention. The results highlight that the ED is busy all year round (but for different seasonal reasons) and point to an overdue need to plan for the current and future healthcare of older patients within and beyond acute hospitals.