If you have a a sudden accident or injury, doctors say your age has a lot to do with how you recover.
That’s why geriatric trauma specialties are getting a lot of attention these days.
It turns out, when seniors show up in the hospital, they can bring many complicated issues with them.
"There's physical and physiological changes that happen as we age that predispose the elderly population to complications from illness and injury, more so than the younger population," explains Dr. Robert Barraco, chief of geriatric trauma care at Lehigh Valley Health Network.
Dr. Barraco says the service began in 2004 to respond to the growing needs of our local aging population, which is predicted to grow significantly in the next 20 years.
Because the elderly can have multiple needs and concerns, a team approach is used to treat the whole person.
"Trauma has always been what we call a team sport. It's always been interdisciplinary. This accentuates that. This service really brings that out," according to Dr. Barraco.
A team of experts focuses on each patient’s care and the unique needs of senior citizens.
"By interdisciplinary I mean the gamut, from not only the geriatricians, primary care and acute care surgeons, but also going well beyond that to physical and occupational therapy to name a few, case management, social work."
Also dieticians, pharmacists, even evaluations of the home environment and pastoral care.
Studies show the three most common injuries among the elderly are falls, car accidents and burns.