When to Go to the Emergency Room

In the course of caring for an elderly person or one with Alzheimer’s disease, it is likely that an accident will occur or that the person will appear to be seriously ill. A person with dementia can fall and break a bone, and not complain of pain.

On the other hand, a relatively minor illness or discomfort may make the person extremely upset. Because of his dementia, the person may not be able to help you to decide what kind of care is needed. Is this an emergency?

If it is, you should call 911, the fire department or whatever agency is in charge of sending the Emergency Medical Service in your area. You should not try to take the person to the emergency room on your own. Call for an ambulance if a person has these symptoms—

✔ becomes unconscious or has a marked change in mental state

✔ sudden severe chest pain

✔ a fall that results in severe pain or inability to move

✔ an accident that results in a blow to the head

✔ uncontrollable bleeding

✔ high fever accompanied by confusion and delusions

✔ difficulty breathing

✔ has no signs of breathing (no movement or response to touch or voice)

✔ repeated or forceful vomiting; is vomiting blood or is bleeding from the rectum

✔ failure