Emergency rooms are being refitted so as to better accommodate the needs of senior citizens.
For many older patients, a trip to the emergency room can be a traumatic, even dangerous affair. Long waits, uncomfortable beds, germ-filled surroundings, and a hectic pace can be very stressful for older people already dealing with serious health issues.
This less than adequate situation is already changing for the better at several hospitals around the United States. Take for example, Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Emergency Rooms: An Example For Seniors
Mount Sinai is classified as a Level II trauma center. The hospital has set up a multidisciplinary geriatric emergency team that is geared to help the specific needs of seniors. It’s a special section in the emergency room called the CARE, (Care and Respect for Elders in Emergencies program). It’s the run by the Mount Sinai’s Geriatric Emergency Department — called the Geri ED for short.
This department opened in 2012. Today, it has a team of over 65 staff members, including doctors, nurses, case managers, social workers, pharmacists and even physical therapists. This collaborative team can handle the specific health needs of seniors.
For example, if they’re having angina, they may not have chest pain. If they have an infection, they may not have a high fever or an elevated white blood cell count. Seniors can suffer from several ailments at the same time. It can include diabetes, the after affects of a stroke, and high blood pressure.
Mount Sinai is the first in New York state to specialize in emergency geriatric medicine, and one of but nine medical centers nationwide accredited for geriatric care by the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Other hospitals with geriatric emergency departments include St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J.; Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md.; and five Aurora Health Care hospitals in Wisconsin.
Other excellent features of geriatric emergency rooms are nonslip floors, a lighting system designed to help fight delirium, and a nurse seeing a patient within 14 minutes.
The special lighting is designed to fight delirium — a condition that older adults are especially prone to experience in hospitals.