ED use by older adults attempting suicide

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Abstract

Objective:

The objective of this study was to describe patterns of older adult patient visits to emergency departments (EDs) for self-harm and suicide-related injuries.

Methods:

A retrospective, secondary data analysis of the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample was conducted. Nationally representative estimates of patient visits by older adults attempting suicide were calculated using available sampling weights. Population estimates were calculated using estimates from the US Census Bureau.

Results:

Findings suggest that 22 444 ED patient visits were made by adults aged 65 years and older for suicide-related injuries, representing an estimated population rate of 63 ED patient visits per 100 000 adults aged 65 years and older, with nearly half of all visits involving substance use. Total ED and hospital charges exceeded $353.9 million.

Conclusions:

Effort is needed to better integrate and deliver suicide screening and support services in the ED, while also connecting at-risk older adults with mental health services before and after the ED encounter.

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