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Elderly patient falls cost medics time, money

A new study suggests paramedics are spending a month’s worth of time each year assisting geriatric patients after falls

By EMS1 Staff

LONDON, Ontario — A Western University study concluded that paramedics are spending a month’s worth of time each year on calls from elderly patients who have fallen and require assistance getting up.

Blackburn News reported on the study, which showed paramedics responded to 1,121 calls to help assist older patients after falling, accounting for a total of 801 hours of time: the equivalent of 33 days.

“It’s an emerging problem that we need to address in North America as baby-boomers age,” Aleksandra Zecevic, a gerontologist who led the study at the university, said.

The study only included calls for patients who needed assistance getting up and did not require hospitalization or further medical assistance, prompting the authors to suggest the need for new protocols to prioritize emergency resources.

“Some of these people would say, ‘I don’t have anybody else to call, so I have to call you and wait on the floor until you arrive,’” Dustin Carter, superintendent of community paramedicine with the Middlesex-London Paramedic Service, said.