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Mark Plaster talks with Chris Carpenter of Washington University in St. Louis on why geriatric emergency medicine really matters
 
"Out of all the people over 65 that have EVER lived, in the history of mankind, HALF of them are alive today. And that's only going to increase."
 

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# Assistant ProfessorUla Hwang 2009-10-27 19:05
This is an excellent interview and commentary about the growing need to promote and improve geriatric patient care in the ED setting. It not only markedly points out the irrefutable increase in the number of older patients in the healthcare system, but also gives great examples of where ED patient care can be more geriatric focused.
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# Physician AssistantMartha J Lynch 2009-11-11 18:08
As a PA working in a large, geographically spread out community, geriatric medicine has been focused on care management AFTER a preventable problem brings the aging patient to the ER.

Dr. Carpenter's program is timely in the context of the current health care reform debate. I agree with many points he made and want to reiterate how important primary prevention is for geriatric patients.

It seems intuitive that the ED is not the optimal place for primary preventive care education. During secondary preventive care time will be limited, at best, to provide a care plan for after the patient leaves the ER.

From study data collected by the American Academy of Home Care Physicians in 2002, regarding the use of ERs by patients over the age of sixty-five, it was determined that nearly 80% of night time and weekend visits to ERs by this cohort were medically unnecessary.

In other words, improving ambulatory geriatric care and providing a workable alternative like the one suggested by Dr. Carpenter (home visits) can save money and time for overtaxed EDs and will likely improve outcomes for frail, aging patients.

If any physicians or any EDs in San Diego are interested, I've trained with George Taler, M.D. Director of Long Term Care at Washington Hospital Center, as a house call PA. I have worked hard to advance the business model for this type of program since 2002. I have had no success, but I continue to champion this model of geriatric care.

Any takers?

Sincerely,

Martha J Lynch BS, PA-C
Physician Assistant
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