Research reveals the rate of emergency ambulance use among people aged 85 or over has almost doubled in the 14 years from 1995 to 2008. Studying data provided by Ambulance Victoria, the study author found that use of the service had increased from 248 out of every 1000 people to 474 per 1000 people.
There was a dramatic growth in ambulance use across the board but the rise was driven by those aged over 75, with the 85-plus age group being of particular concern.
Predictive modeling has shown that, due to a rapidly ageing population, the growth is set to continue, with even older patients expected to increase demand for emergency ambulances within the next few years.
Factors such as increased social isolation – working family members are increasingly less able to care for older relatives – and reduced access to GPs, has meant the elderly often have little option except to dial ‘000’, the study author said.