The New York Times reports that "geriatric emergency departments" are in vogue in various parts of the United States. A growing trend, the newspaper reports, toward catering to "the medical needs and sensibilities of aging baby boomers and their parents."
According to the article, there is a strong financial incentive to cater healthcare to the elderly. People over 65 represent 15 to 20 percent of emergency room visits.
Similarly, under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare payments will be tied to scores on patient satisfaction surveys — and how frequently patients have to be readmitted to a hospital.
One geriatric ER discussed in the article resembles a clinic more than it does an emergency room. Nonskid floors, rails along the wall, reclining chairs for patients and thicker mattresses to reduce bedsores are all part of the interior design package. Also, to keep the noise down, curtain rings and rods surrounding the beds are made of plastic instead of metal.