According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals 65 years and older make up nearly 25 percent of adult emergency room visits. Hospitals are creating geriatric centered emergency departments nicknamed geri-eds. Dr. Mark Rosenberg, the chief of geriatric emergency medicine at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Patterson, NJ has assisted many efforts to build geriatric emergency departments, from hospital systems to emergency medicine management groups.
"I predict that hundreds of EDs will move in this direction over the next several years," Rosenberg said. What makes a geri-ed different from a typical emergency room? Click ahead for more.
The geri-ed is different from the typical ER by the type of medical equipment used. Geri-ed equipment examples include new mattress overlay technology on the hospital beds, skid proof floors, patient lifts, and power exam tables. The geriatric emergency room differs in more than just equipment. The colors and tones of a geriatric emergency room are muted and softer than the bright fluorescent lights of most 24 hour emergency rooms. The geri-ed at Mt. Sinai hospital in New York City actually uses fake skylights to help geriatric patients who have dementia cope with the confusion that can ouccur during 24 hour care without natural light. It's not only patients with dementia that this helps, but any older patients who need help to adjust their body's sleep and wake patterns.
Geri-ed adult emergency rooms are also noted for a different style of care. Using folding medical privacy screens with sound resistant material, doctors, nurses, and caregivers can adopt a more personal, intimate, and ultimately private type of care for patients. Because the older patients are taken out of the main ER population there are a smaller number of patients that need care and this leads to less rushing, less noise, shorter wait times, and more one on one time with patients.
Since the creation of Mt. Sinai's unit on Feb. 17, older patients coming to the general emergency room are moved to the geri-ed as long as they meet a certain number of clinical criteria. In each of the eight bedrooms and six exam rooms, patients experience a quieter and calmer setting where they can wait and receive care from professionals specially trained in elderly care.
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