3-Fold Risk of Infection for Elderly After ER Visits
(Ivanhoe Newswire)-- Visiting the emergency room during the wrong time of year may triple the risk of contracting a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection for the elderly who live in long-term care facilities.
Researchers conducted a study that showed how the risks of contracting respiratory and gastrointestinal infections were increased in the elderly during non-summer months. The study included 1269 elderly residents of 22 long-term care facilities in Canada.
The study showed that between September 2006 and May 2008, 424 residents visited the emergency department for various conditions, excluding respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. The other 845 residents did not visit the emergency room at all.
Researchers showed that of the participants who went to the emergency room there was an increase of chronic illness and they were more likely to be less independent that those not exposed to the emergency departments.
"In our study, a visit to the emergency department between September and May was associated with increased risk of a new respiratory or gastrointestinal infection in the week following the visit, but only in the absence of an outbreak in the resident's facility," Dr. Caroline Quach, a researcher at Montreal Children's Hospital in Canada, was quoted as saying.
The risks of contracting a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection was three times more likely for people who visited the emergency room, with an incidence of infection of 8.3/1000 resident-days in the exposed group compared with 3.4/1000 resident-days in the unexposed group.
"Once systemic reasons for the transmission of infection in emergency departments are understood, interventions to reduce the risk should be studied," the authors were quoted as saying.
"In the meantime, considerations should be given to the implementation of additional precautions for residents for five to seven days after their return from the emergency department."
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, January 23, 2012