Aim: As summer become hotter due to rapid climate change, older people suffering from heat illness are increasing. The aim of our study was to examine the characteristics of older people who suffered from heat illness. Methods: We analyzed the 65 years or older patients admitted for acute care of Nagoya Ekisaikai Hospital via the emergency department (ED) during the summer seasons of 2006 and 2007. Demographic data, functional status, use situation of care services, climate of the onset day, use of an air conditioners, and cognitive status, length of hospital stay and disposition following their discharge were recorded. Results: During the study period, 104 patients visited the ED because of heat illness. Twenty older patients were admitted for acute care. In hospitalized patients, the mean length of stay was 27.5 ± 18.6days. Sixty percent of patients were discharged to long-term care facilities (12/20). Sixteen patients suffered from heat illness inside their home. Most of the patients had characteristics such as living alone or with their spouses only (14/16), cognitive dysfunction (12/16), lack or no use of an air conditioner (11/16), no use of care service (11/16), and preserved functional status (10/16). Conclusions: Many older patients suffered from heat illness in their home, and their ED visits were associated with prolonged admissions and post-discharge institutionalizations. It is important to give education to prevent heat illness in older people.
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