The geriatric trauma patient presents unique challenges to prehospital personnel and hospital providers. There are many ways to classify older adults, but for the purpose of this chapter, the term geriatric is defined as individuals who are ≥65 years old. Our general population of baby boomers is living longer and are relatively healthier than their counterparts a generation ago, resulting in a rapid increase in both the number and percentage of people 65 years old and over. Estimates predict that by year 2030, one in five people in the United States will have reached age 65. Because of this, it is important to make a distinction between management strategies for geriatric trauma patients when compared to younger patients. Geriatric populations are associated with physiological changes that occur with normal aging, multiple co-morbidities, and prescription drug regimens that are present prior to their injuries. Because of these age-related differences, the geriatric trauma patient involved in relatively minor accidents can have devastating consequences—their response to bleeding, injury, and shock differs greatly from their 18-year-old counterparts. The objective of this book chapter is to better understand the physiology difference in the elderly and their response to injury in the prehospital setting in order to maximize outcomes.
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