It is of particular importance that seniors are diligent about their own healthcare, as they are usually the most at risk for complications and mistakes in emergency situations. On average, 1 in 2 adults over the age of 64 visits a hospital emergency room every year. Even more frightening, medical errors kill more than a quarter million people every year in the U.S. Between April and September of 2013, there were 227,597 recorded medical accidents and errors in Quebec’s Health Ministry. This small, six-month sample is a frightening insight into the larger picture. More than half of those incidents involved senior citizens.
Seniors are generally more at risk for medical mistakes for a number of reasons, but medication errors are the most common. Though those errors can be avoided with a review of every medication the patient is taking or ought to be taking, that practice is time-consuming, and seniors are often transferred several times during a visit. Seniors can be moved from their home, to the ICU, to a hospital room, to a rehab facility and back home. The high number of medical personnel responsible for a patient throughout heightens the risk of mistakes, especially with a patient who has a long medical history, or who takes a number of prescriptions.
* According to study by Johns Hopkins University.