Volume 8, Issue 12: Head Injuries in the Older PersonAuthor: Pete Morris
Head Injuries in the Older Person
You are on standby crewed with a trainee technician when the radio goes off…an 85 year old female who has fallen, husband and carer on scene. Your initial examination indicates that the patient has experienced a minor mechanism of injury, has no neurological red flags and appears to have normal observations – can she be discharged into family care? What else should you be taking into consideration?
The UK has an ageing population that has resulted in a change in the distribution of trauma that is seen by the ambulance services and emergency departments. Of older patients admitted into ED following trauma, it is estimated that over 70% have sustained a head injury.
This article will discuss the additional risk factors to be considered when assessing older patients with head injuries and the importance of carrying out a thorough holistic assessment to ascertain if there is a need to refer them for further care or if they are safe to be left at home with worsening advice. It will enable you to gain a good understanding of the pathophysiology of head trauma, physical examination and neurological red flags in order to manage and care for your patient effectively and minimise secondary brain injury.
Assessment Answers and References
You can check your answers to the quiz and download the references for this article by clicking the links below:
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