Taking A Senior to the E.R: Knowing When A Trip to the Emergency Room is in Order

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Seconds can be crucial to a senior citizen when a trip to the emergency room is necessary. Quickly assessing whether or not heading to the hospital is the correct course of action can be just as important as the treatment itself. When deciding if you should be heading to the ER with the senior, there are 12 basic questions that should be asked and answered, as follows:

  • Are they experiencing tightness or pain in the chest?
  • Are they short of breath or wheezing heavily? Are they choking?
  • Do they have a severe headache that came on suddenly?
  • Are they dizzy?
  • Are they having sudden vision problems?
  • Are they having trouble speaking?
  • Do you, or they, believe they have fractured a bone?
  • Are they experiencing tingling and/or numbness in the arm, leg or face?
  • Has their state of mind or overall mental status changed significantly?
  • Are they in extreme pain?
  • Are they bleeding excessively?

If the answer to any of the above is “yes”, you should immediately take the senior to an emergency room.  Sometimes, conditions that wouldn’t warrant an ER visit for a younger person can be very serious for a senior. Be mindful of this when making your decision to go or not, and if in doubt, always err on the side of caution and make your way to a hospital.

Some hospital emergency rooms have qualified professionals who can be reached by telephone to very generally assess whether or not it is prudent to bring someone to the ER or take some other course of action.  If possible, before a potential emergency strikes, familiarize yourself with the telephone number for this service, and keep it near the senior’s phone.

If you feel that a senior is too frail or ill for you to tend to or move on your own, call 911 immediately to request an ambulance. Time is of the essence -use the aforementioned questions to make the best of yours when deciding what action to take.


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