Published on June 01, 2012

Seniors and the emergency room

Cut down on stressful visits to the emergency room

Dr. MingleHas your senior loved one visited the emergency room more than once this year? You are not alone. Many seniors who live with chronic illness end up in the ER too often, says David Mingle, MD, Mercy LIFE.

“Some seniors and their family members turn to the ER when they have a health scare,” says Dr. Mingle. “But when illness is carefully controlled, these stressful hospital visits can decrease.”

The LIFE program works hard to keep its patients as healthy as possible in their own homes, making repeat ER visits a thing of the past.

With LIFE, seniors living at home with illness can see their doctor, nurse, therapist and social worker regularly in one place. They can get transportation to appointments. They get help with medication.

Is this an Emergency?

Here are some examples of when it is time to call 911:

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • signs of heart attack, such as chest pain, pressure, tightness, squeezing or burning, or upper abdominal pain
  • signs of stroke, such as sudden dizziness or weakness, numbness, tingling, inability to move a part of the body, trouble speaking or vision changes
  • sudden, severe pain
  • confusion, change in mental status or loss of consciousness
  • uncontrollable bleeding, blood in the urine or black stool