Western Journal of Emergency Medicine: Integrating Emergency Care with Population Health
Emergency Department Visits by Older Adults with Mental Illness in North Carolina
- Author(s): Hakenewerth, Anne M.
- Tintinalli, Judith E.
- Waller, Anna E.
- Ising, Amy
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2015.8.27662
Introduction: We analyzed emergency department (ED) visits by patients with mental health disorders (MHDs) in North Carolina from 2008-2010 to determine frequencies and characteristics of ED visits by older adults with MHDs.
Methods: We extracted ED visit data from the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT). We defined mental health visits as visits with a mental health ICD-9-CM diagnostic code, and organized MHDs into clinically similar groups for analysis.
Results: Those ≥65 with MHDs accounted for 27.3% of all MHD ED visits, and 51.2% were admitted. The most common MHD diagnoses for this age group were psychosis, and stress/anxiety/depression.
Conclusion: Older adults with MHDs account for over one-quarter of ED patients with MHDs, and their numbers will continue to increase as the “boomer” population ages. We must anticipate and prepare for the MHD-related needs of the elderly.