Objectives: Developments in medical technology have increased life expectancy around the world thereby, the population of elderly patients increases. While diagnosing the elderly patients, besides factors like physiological changes, comorbidities, multiple medications and admittance to the Emergency Department (ED) for serious causes, a lack of information and experience complicate the work of emergency physicians. Elderly people are admitted to ED with medical or traumatic complaints; nevertheless, independent of the reason for admittance to the ED their presenting condition should be simultaneously assessed for comorbidities. In this study, we aimed to compare social support and stress levels in geriatric patients admitted to the ED for trauma and medical reasons.
Methods: This was a single-center, prospective, descriptive, epidemiologic trial conducted in the ED of a training and research hospital between October 1st, 2015, and April 1st, 2016. Participants consisted 197 patients who were older than 65 years and presented to ED with medical reasons or trauma whose Emergency Severity Index (ESI) was ≥3. A socio-demographic and clinical data form, and the DUKE Social Support and Stress Scale (DUSOCS) were completed for each patient.
Results: Patients presenting with medical problems had higher family support levels than patients presenting with traumatic incidents, and this difference was statistically significant (p = 0.028). Concurrently, when both groups' family stress and social stress levels are viewed, patients presenting with trauma had higher levels of stress, and this difference was also statistically significant (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: This study revealed that the patients admitted to the ED for trauma have lower social support levels than patients admitted for medical reasons. Moreover, social stress levels were also higher in these patients.
Keywords: Geriatric population; Social stress; Social support.