Risk Assessment and Vulnerable Populations

The United States is experiencing the beginning of era where the aged population will expand at a torrential rate. The generation known as “baby boomers” are responsible for the expanding numbers as they enter old age en masse. People who fall in the older age categories face greater health risks than those who are younger. This discrepancy is somewhat self-explanatory as advanced age is commonly known to be associated with frailty. However, advances in medical preventions and treatments have resulted in a consistent increase in life expectancies. The impact of these improvements is most evident in the preservation of both very young and very old members of the population. Accordingly, the aged are functioning at record levels and face significantly lowered morbidity risks compared to the past (King et al., 2013). This improvement extends to the surgical environment as old patients have shown great resilience to distress from surgical procedures when they are elective and excellent care is provided through pre, intra, and post periods of the surgical process. However, the risks increase when the procedure is an emergency, requiring the highest possible level of care during assessment, operation, and recovery.