Evidence-based strategies for managing trauma and its complications in this population.
Overview: Trauma is the seventh leading cause of death in older adults. Factors that contribute to the higher rates of morbidity and mortality in geriatric trauma victims include age-related physiologic changes, a high prevalence of comorbidities, and poor physiologic reserves. Existing assessment and management standards for the care of older adults haven't been evaluated for efficacy in geriatric trauma patients, and standardized protocols for trauma management haven't been tested in older adults. Until such specific standards are developed, nurses must be guided by the relevant literature in various areas. The author reviews the mechanisms of traumatic injury in older adults, discusses the effects of aging and comorbidities, reviews assessment guidelines and prevention strategies for trauma-related complications, and outlines some evidence-based approaches for improving outcomes. An illustrative case is also provided.
Keywords: geriatric trauma, hospitalized older adults, older adults, trauma, traumatic injury