Geriatric emergency departments have implications for long-term care

Emergency departments designed for the elderly is one of 10 technology-related trends hospital leaders will be thinking about this year

By Healthcare Facilities Today
January 31, 2014

Older adults use emergency department (ED) services more frequently and an aging population means that the ED designed for the elderly is one of 10 technology-related trends hospital leaders will be thinking about this year, according to the nonprofit ECRI Institute’s 2014 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List

More than 50 elderly-focused EDs have opened in the United States since 2011, the report said, and another 150 are being planned. For those working in long-term care, the trend could have implications related to hospital readmissions and the use of LTC facilities, according to an article on the Long-term Living magazine website.

"Infrastructure/structural redesign of the ED as well as new protocols and care processes, including training ED staff in geriatric patient care, can improve clinical outcomes in older adults and reduce intensive care stays and readmissions," the report said.

The 30-day post-ED return rate for seniors (for the same condition) dropped from 20 percent to less than one percent at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ, one year after it opened its geriatric ED in 2009, according to the article.

EDs for the elderly—separate spaces as well as those carved out of existing EDs—can have layouts, nonskid floors, handrails, aisle lighting and bedside commodes to reduce fall risk; wider and thicker mattresses and other furniture to prevent pressure ulcers; nonflorescent lighting, windows and other aids to help with orientation; and noise abatement features to aid communication with hearing-impaired adults, the report said. 

Read the article.



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