More emergency rooms designed expressly for seniors are opening, according to an October 25, 2010 article in the Detroit News, Hospitals Designing Senior ERs to Cater to Needs of the Elderly. The report, by Detroit News reporter Melissa Burden, describes how hospital systems in Michigan are are opening senior ERs for the good of older patients, and with a larger goal of decreasing senior hospital readmissions — a big policy issue for hospitals and Medicare.
The new facilities at St. Joseph Mercy Health System (read the press release describing the new ER for seniors) and Henry Ford Hospitals are modeled in some ways after the highly successful senior emergency facility at Holy Cross Hospital in Bethesda Maryland. Read my post from a year ago, Going to the Emergency Room, describing the Holy Cross ER for seniors.
Reason’s for the increasing numbers of these specialized senior ERs?
- Beginning in 2011, Medicare will add a new focus on bills for patients who get readmitted within 30 days of a hospital discharge, and penalties may result. Read about an interesting aspect of this problem in a May 8, 2009 New York Times article, Hospitals Pay for Cutting Costly Readmissions.
- The numbers of seniors is increasing in Michigan, just like everywhere else with the coming of the gray tsunami.
- Seniors are more at risk for increased bouts of dementia when they admitted to hospitals after waiting for long periods in typically noisy and confusing emergency rooms. The situation is described in Hospital Stays Raise Dementia Risk at WebMD. Read the JAMA abstract for the research discussed at WebMD.
You may want to think about how to encourage your local hospital to consider developing a senior emergency department.
Read More About Senior ERs
- Dr Bill Thomas’ post on Senior Emergency Care at his blog Changing Aging
- St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital Opens Senior Emergency Room – Ann Arbor.com
- An Emergency Room Build Specially for Seniors, NPR
- Michigan Hospitals Focus On ERs For Seniors; Ga. Voters Consider Funding New Trauma Centers – Kaiser Health News
- Park Plaza Hospital and Medical Center Opens New Senior Emergency Department – Cypress Times
- Video of the Opening of Holy Cross ER featuring the collaboration with the Erickson School at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus