Ruth Gay, a San Francisco-based advocate for people with Alzheimer’s, says dementia hits U.S. emergency rooms hard.
Gay talked about the problem earlier this week in Washington at a meeting of the federal Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services.
Congress created the panel in an effort to speed up efforts to help people with dementia and their caregivers.
A 2013 survey of hospital emergency room staff members found that as many as 60 percent of the people coming to emergency rooms have some form of dementia, Gay said, according to a written version of her presentation included in a meeting packet.
As many as 70 percent of the people coming in with dementia may have no true medical reason for the visit and no other places to go for help, Gay said.