SDUT: Hospitals focus on baby boomers and elderly, but will it boost patients’ health and save money?


 

 

By Claudia Boyd-Barrett and Paul Sisson

Dr. Shawn Evans scrolled through the list of patients booked into the emergency department at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla on a recent morning.

Of the 18 patients on the intake screen, a third were 65 or older. Three were over 80.

“There is seldom a day when we’re not seeing five, 10 or 20 people over 90 years old in here. It’s incredible,” said Evans, who as a longtime emergency physician has a front-row seat to a dramatic shift in America’s demographics.

As the nation’s population ages, hospitals in California and across the country are bracing for ever-increasing numbers of elderly people landing in the emergency room. These patients often require more complex care than younger adults, yet emergency departments are typically ill-equipped to handle their special needs.

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