Improved Service to Older Patients in ER

The Washington Post reported that a local hospital in the Washington, DC metropolitan area (Holy Cross in Silver Spring, Maryland) has initiated a new service for older patients to make their visit to the emergency room (ER) a better experience.

Holy Cross chief executive Kevin Sexton said the idea for an emergency room for older people came to him after he got a call from his mother from an ER in New Jersey. 'It was clear she was really stressed out,' he said. 'It was the combination of her being there quite some time and it being very crowded and chaotic. It came to me we really do treat seniors poorly in that setting.'

The aging of Montgomery County contributed to the decision to open the center: 70 percent of anticipated population growth over the next decade will be people older than 65, according to Sexton. 'An enormous demand for services is going to befall hospitals,' he said. 'Figuring out how to do it better without bankrupting us all is going to be one of the challenges.'

The senior emergency center is a first step in the hospital's long-term plan to become known for serving older people. It's an unusual concept: An expert at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine could think of only one similar facility, located at Nassau University Medical Center in New York.

"Serenity In Emergencies: A Silver Spring ER Aims to Serve Older Patients" By Beth Baker, Special to The Washington Post, Tuesday, January 27, 2009; Page HE01

Read the full article for more information about this program. Hopefully more hospitals across the country will follow their lead.

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