For the first time there are 11.5 million people aged 65 or over living in the UK, which equates to 18% of the population (Figure: Office For National Statistics 2015).
Nationally this is the fastest growing age group in the UK and the Office for National Statistics estimate that by 2040 one in four people in the UK will be aged 65 or over.
The Trauma Audit Research Network (TARN) reported that major trauma patients in England and Wales are becoming more elderly, and low level falls are now a leading cause of severe injury. However there are currently few clinical guidelines which specifically focus on the needs of injured elderly patients admitted to major trauma networks.
The pan London elderly trauma group comprises multi-disciplinary professionals with expertise and interest in managing older injured patients. This group have produced clinical guidance for the management of elderly trauma patients within Major Trauma Centres and Trauma Units. Clinical commissioning standards for the care of this group of patients have been proposed within the guidelines, for discussion with the National Clinical Reference group and other key stakeholders.
Definition of 'elderly'
Published reports on the care of the older trauma patient lack consensus for the definition of which age may be considered ‘elderly’. For the purposes of our work, elderly is defined as a patient aged 70 years or over. We acknowledge that this may be 60 or 65 in some trauma settings.