Caritas Opens Trauma Center for Elderly
2018-01-15 |

Caritas Opens Trauma Center for Elderly

With age, bones become more fragile. Fractures are a major issue among older patients. Prompt medical evaluation and best treatment can bring them back to their usual life activities and avoid future complications.

The Caritas Hospital, Bad Mergentheim has now been certified by the German Society for Trauma Surgery as "The Elderly Trauma Center of Tauber Franconia". This confirms the high quality of treatment of the elderly after a fall or accident. Every year, more than 700,000 elderly people in Germany suffer a fracture of the thigh, arms or vertebra. Older women are especially affected: hip fractures are now the most common reason for hospitalization among females over 85-year-old – often with drastic consequences. "Thanks to rising life expectancy, we see more and more elderly patients. In addition, it is especially important for them to be looked after as quickly and comprehensively as possible", explains Dr. Christoph Eingartner. Restrictions on mobility and prolonged bed-rest are often associated with loss of self-employment as well as early onset of long-term care for these people. "This is exactly what we try to prevent through our joint interdisciplinary treatment in our old-age trauma center."

Back to the old life

Dr. Werner Vey is the chief physician of the Clinic for Orthopedics and Traumatology in the Caritas Hospital. He is also a specialist in geriatric medicine and the head of the therapeutic team of the geriatric center. Dr. Vey is responsible for the quality and competence of care provided by his team. Trauma surgeons and geriatrists are daily on the station E1, where the patients are brought to. "In addition to accident surgeons and geriatricians, our team includes specially trained health and nursing staff, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists and social services. We all work together closely according to strict rules in order to mobilize the patient as early as possible during the hospital stay. The main goal is that the patient could return to his or her environment as soon as possible", says Professor Dr. med. Eingartner

Always note the comorbidities

Just as soon as in the emergency department, geriatric tests are carried out on the elderly accident victims and the medications are checked. The surgical treatment of the fracture is carried out promptly. "The fall and the broken bone are usually only the events that led to the current injury. Often, the patients come with several comorbidities such as high blood pressure, dizziness, muscle breakdown, heart failure or osteoporosis, which are mostly the actual cause of the fall, "explains the geriatrician. "Additionally, diabetes can delay wound healing, hospitalization sometimes reinforces existing dementia, and surgery can trigger delirium. We have to take all this into consideration and also treat it properly. "Here, the joint support by the treatment team is crucial.

There is a treatment plan for each patient, an interdisciplinary visit at least twice a week, and a team meeting once a week to jointly define each patient's progress and other important therapeutic measures. The specialist examiners of the German Society for Trauma Surgery had convinced themselves in a two-day intensive audit that these rule work and due to it, the quality standards are met. "They are well-positioned in the Caritas Hospital for the treatment of older trauma patients and have many strengths that benefit the patient," concluded the auditors.

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