Missed opportunities: under-detection of trauma in elderly adults involved in motor vehicle crashes.
Geriatric trauma, mainly as a result of motor vehicle crashes (MVCs), has been a persistent and serious problem for those older than 65 years of age. Because of physiological changes and pre-existing disease, older adults present a unique clinical challenge to emergency nurses and staff. "Are older adults involved in MVCs appropriately assessed and treated?" A review of the research literature, including 17 articles from 2003 to 2009, on the topic of geriatric trauma, specifically trauma that resulted from MVCs will be explored. Four different areas were discussed: (1) the under-detection of geriatric trauma, (2) prehospital triage guidelines, (3)the injury severity score, and (4) common resultant injuries encountered by older adults. Understanding specific patterns of injury in older adults and the geriatric trauma outcomes data is essential to emergency nursing practice. Following this literature review, the emergency nurse will be more comfortable managing the next geriatric patient arriving in the emergency department. 2010 Emergency Nurses Association. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.