Visiting the emergency room can signal the beginning of serious health challenges for an older person even when he or she is not admitted, researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine contend.

Six months after visiting an ER, seniors in a Yale study were 14% more likely to have acquired a disability affecting activities of daily living than older adults of the same age with a similar illness who didn’t end up in the ER.

The ER visits often reflected a decline in quality of life and eventual nursing home placement, experts said.

Results appeared in the Annals of Emergency Medicine