The Role of Non-Emergent Ambulance Services in Supporting the Elderly

In many countries demand for medical transportation services is growing faster that population growth can account for. The fact that the population in many regions has been generally aging since the early 1980’s is normally cited as one of the main causes of this shift.

Numerous researchers have reported that people over the age of 65 are twice as likely to use emergency transportation services as those less than 65 years of age. These findings are especially important when looking at rural and suburban areas in countries such as the United States, where people over the age of 65 comprise a large proportion of the population.

One of the major issues in rural or suburban areas in many countries, which is forcing elderly people to rely on emergency medical transport, is the limited access to general transportation. It has been documented that over 50 percent of elderly people living in rural or suburban areas in the US have extremely limited, if any, access to transportation. This is also especially problematic regarding people over the age of 75 due to the fact that over 25 percent have no access to private transport either.

The Importance of Non-Emergent Ambulance Services for the Elderly

By the year 2030 it is predicted that one in five people in America will be over 65 years of age. It is consequently predicted that emergency services simply won’t be able to cope with demand, causing a deficit in not only transportation services, but general health care and emergency service availability.

To curb the pressures on emergency transport services in these areas governments and private institutions offer ‘Non-emergent’ ambulance services. This basically entails the non-emergency transport of patients by an individual, agency, or commercial transportation provider, and is utilized when the patient has no other transportation options available to them. Patients can consequently plan their transport to suit their person medical needs.

The availability of non-emergent ambulance services to the elderly in these regions is not only important for basic functions such as getting to and from medical appointments, it also plays a pivotal role in ensuring follow up treatment and hence effects over all health outcomes.

Issues Faced by Elderly People Attempting to Utilize Non-Emergent Ambulance Services

Certain issues may be faced by elderly people wishing to utilize non-emergent ambulance services in certain areas. In America for example, the only formal non-emergent ambulance program is run by Medicaid and is only available to members, which millions of elderly Americans are not. Problems may also arise when the patient needs to be transported to an appointment which is not covered by the scheme, rendering the system useless.

It is proposed that non-emergent ambulance services are extremely important in ensuring the transport and treatment of the elderly. It also put forward that in the coming decades, these services with need to increase in number and prevalence, in order to continue to relieve the pressures placed upon the already overstressed emergency transportation services.