|Home | About | Journals | Submit | Contact Us | Français|
This study was carried out to find out how many patients aged 75 and over admitted to hospital as medical emergencies had features appropriate to care by physicians in geriatric medicine and to examine the extent of use of specialist facilities by these patients. The purpose was to examine criticisms of age-related admission policies which have focused on misplacement of patients with single diagnoses and lack of access to specialist care. An analysis was made of admission, process and discharge characteristics relevant to the special skills of geriatric medicine, multiple pathology and use of specialist services by 554 patients aged 75 and over. These were collected prospectively, consecutively admitted as medical emergencies via the accident and emergency department of a large district general hospital with an age-related (75 and over) medical admissions policy. 84 patients (15%) had single pathology and no characteristics suggesting the need for specialist geriatric care. 177 (32%) had single pathology and one or more specialized characteristics. 66 (12%) had multiple pathology alone. 227 (41%) had multiple pathology and specialized characteristics. There were 142 specialist referrals in 121 patients (22% of the whole sample). We concluded that the special skills of general physicians specializing in the medical and associated community problems of elderly people are highly relevant to patients aged 75 and over presenting as medical emergencies. There was no evidence of lack of involvement of specialists in their care.