Access to Trauma Care- A Matter of Life and Death For Florida’s Seniors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the number one cause of injury death, non-fatal injuries and trauma admissions for seniors ages 65 and older. Falls affect one of three seniors in that age group causing everything from bone fractures, internal bleeding, and traumatic brain injuries. With the Sunshine state’s 3.2 million plus seniors, ensuring access to life-saving trauma care for Florida’s seniors is a massive job.

The 24-hour specialized care provided by trauma centers is life-saving, increasing a patient’s survival chances by 25 percent.  Let’s not confuse trauma centers with the standard emergency room.  Emergency rooms cannot handle the types of traumatic injuries that trauma centers can manage.

In order to provide timely, lifesaving care to seniors, states must continue to expand local access to trauma centers. Thankfully Florida has opened new trauma centers in the last two years to help ensure that growing populations of seniors have access to trauma care closer to their homes during an emergency, and this increase in access to care has come at no expense to taxpayers.

It is critical for seniors suffering traumatic injuries, such as those caused by falls or car accidents, to be administered care by trauma professionals within 60 minutes of injury in order to increase their chances of survival. And access to trauma care in many areas of the state is still lacking with nearly half of Florida’s severely injured never receiving treatment in a trauma center.

But such serious lack of access has not stopped several taxpayer subsidized hospitals from trying to shut down Florida’s newest trauma centers through legal challenges.

Seniors need peace of mind in knowing that they will receive the best possible care in the event of the unexpected and opening new trauma centers in their communities provides quicker access to care that literally saves lives. The need for greater access to trauma care is not going away and the top priority for all hospitals should not be padding their bottom lines, but rather focusing on the health and safety of seniors who are so susceptible to traumatic injuries.