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Elderly Drivers and Emergency Department Visits

Chan, H, Fayowski, C, Stewart, L, Brubacher, J (Peer reviewed)

Older Drivers/Users

ARSC conference 2015

Background: Canadians are living longer and have more active lifestyles, which means that there are more elderly drivers and increasing road traffic injuries among this population. The primary objective of this study was to examine the injury profile and emergency healthcare utilization of older drivers (age ≥70) treated in an emergency department (ED) after a motor vehicle crash (MVC). _x000D_

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study with data obtained by chart reviews of MVC related ED visits at Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia from January 1, 2009 to May 31, 2014. Each older injured driver (age ≥70) was matched with 2 younger injured drivers (age <70) with the closest ED visit date and time. Data from medical records including demographics, crash circumstances, injury profile and ED care information were analysed using descriptive and logistic regression analyses. _x000D_

Results and Conclusions: Elderly drivers were 2.41 times more likely to be admitted to hospital and sustained more injury after a crash compared to younger drivers. As expected, elderly drivers also had longer ED length of stay compared to younger drivers (median time: 184.5 versus 155 minutes) as well as higher rates of ambulance arrival (85.4% versus 68.3%), blood work requirement (63.5% versus 39.3%) and diagnostic imaging (78.1% versus 62.8%). _x000D_

Implications: Compared to younger drivers, elderly drivers involved in MVCs sustain more serious injuries and have higher healthcare utilization. These indicate the need for programs to identify at risk elderly drivers and ED treatment protocol to care for the increasing older driving population._x000D_