Many emergency room visits by nursing home residents are preventable, CDC estimates

A large percentage of nursing home residents’ emergency department (ED) visits are avoidable, according to a recently released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using data collected for the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, the CDC found that roughly 8% of nursing home patients—roughly 123,600—had an ED visit in the past 90 days. Among these residents, the CDC estimates that 40%—about 50,300 residents—were potentially preventable. Some of the conditions resulting in an ED visit, such as urinary tract infection, could be more appropriately dealt with in a nursing home, researchers argued.

The number one reason for ED visits by nursing home patients was falls, researchers discovered. Those visits could possibly be prevented through efforts to prevent the falls themselves, according to the report. To download a copy of the report, visit