• Vol. 48 No. 11
  • 15 November 2019

The Changing Epidemiology of Serious Trauma in the Elderly Population: An Increasing Concern of a Tertiary Hospital in Singapore



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Although trauma is often seen in the young, there is a recent shift in this trend as more elderly patients are hospitalised for traumatic injuries. This study examined serious trauma in young and elderly patients and hypothesised that the increase in incidence of elderly serious trauma has led to greater burden of care in hospitals and health services. Materials and Methods: Details of trauma patients admitted with an Injury Severity Score ≥9 or to the intensive care unit or high dependency unit of a tertiary acute hospital between 2004 and 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients ≥65 years old who sustained low-impact trauma that resulted from same-level falls with isolated hip fractures or compression fractures of the vertebral column were excluded. Patients were classified as either elderly (≥65 years old, n = 5074) or young (<65 years old, n = 9088) and their baseline characteristics, complications rate and length of hospital stay were evaluated. Results: Elderly patients ≥65 years old accounted for 51.2% of seriously injured patients after 2014 and their numbers are increasing at an annual rate of 16.5%. They also experienced longer hospital stay in the general ward than younger patients. Conclusion: The number of elderly trauma patients were thrice that of all trauma patients seen and they also required longer hospitalisation. This trend has led to greater burden of care in hospitals and health services in Singapore.

The burden of care for an ageing population on health
services is a growing concern in developed countries. In
Singapore, the life expectancy of its residents has risen from
79.1 years in 2003 to 82.4 years in 2013.

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