Common Infections in the Elderly That Lead to Frequent Emergency Department Visits

Infectious Diseases TranscriptionInfectious diseases transcription is a major requirement in emergency departments that typically see a number of patients coming in for treatment for infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are an important concern in elderly adults, forcing them to frequently visit the emergency department. As you grow older, your immune system becomes slower to respond which increases the risk of getting sick.

Transcribing emergency room reports is rather challenging because transcriptionists have to work mostly from hastily scribbled, handwritten notes of the attending healthcare provider. Time is a precious commodity in the ER and the transcription needs to be done quickly. Professional emergency room reports transcription service provided by reliable medical transcription companies are utilized by hospitals and other healthcare providers to ensure timely transcripts and appropriate care, and smooth communication among various physicians in the care team. ER medical report transcripts contain important information such as time and date of admission; nature of injury/illness; medical interventions with details of medication dosage, mode of administration/surgery; whether the patient was referred to a specialist and so on. These transcripts have to be very carefully prepared to ensure proper care and attention; moreover, they may be later required in court if the patient is admitted following an automobile accident, or other incidents that may have legal consequences.

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that more than 3.1 million elders visited the emergency departments in the US for infectious disease related diagnoses in 2012. This is more than the number of visits associated with congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction combined.

The rate of elders who had infectious diseases was 7231 per 100,000 elderly patients. Around 57.2% of patients were hospitalized and 4% of the patients died during their ED visit or hospitalization. The most common diseases were urinary tract infection, lower respiratory infections and septicaemia.

  • Septicaemia was the most frequent reason for elderly patients with an infection to be hospitalized. This condition was responsible for around one third of all infectious disease associated hospitalizations.
  • Lower respiratory tract infection: This infection accounted for 27.8 % of all hospitalizations.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI): This is one of the most common infections in elderly people. Worsening of dementia, urinary incontinence, sudden change in behaviour are the symptoms. Though UTI led to a high proportion of ER visits (25.3%), the elderly patients were less likely to be hospitalized for them. As the study shows, these infections led to only 17.2% of all hospitalizations for infections among the elderly population.
  • 17.5% of visits were for pneumonia whereas influenza accounted for only 1.1% of all visits.

According to the researchers, the proportion of ER visits for infectious diseases increased from 12.3% for patients between 65 and 74 years of age to 13.7% for those between 75 and 84 years, and 15.5% for elders 85 years of age and older. It was found that the highest hospitalization rate for an infectious disease diagnosis was seen in aged patients 85 years and older, and this accounted for 66.5% of all hospitalizations. The study authors recommend increased use of currently available vaccines, which could help reduce the visits to the ER by the elderly and the need for hospitalization.

Julie Clements

About Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.