The amount of time people over 80 spend in A&E in England has almost doubled in a year, leaving them at increased risk of coming to harm and dying, emergency care doctors are warning.
An analysis by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) found that people of that age are spending 16 hours in A&E waiting for care or a bed, a huge rise on the nine hours seen in 2021.
The college, which represents the UK’s A&E doctors, warned that long waits, allied to overcrowding in hospitals and older people’s often fragile health, is putting them in danger.
Doctors specialising in emergency and elderly care warned that older people forced to spend a long time in A&E are more likely to suffer a fall, develop sepsis, get bed ulcers or become confused.
Dr Adrian Boyle, the RCEM’s president, said that it is also likely that some older people are dying as a result of the delays they are facing, combined with their often poor underlying health.
The risks older people face while waiting in sometimes chaotic A&E units are so great that they are likely to be disproportionately represented among the 500 people a week who the RCEM estimates are dying as a direct result of delays in accessing urgent medical help.
Source: The Guardian, 31 January 2023
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