Hospitals create senior specific ER rooms

Alan Wu

October 27, 2010

In what appears to be a plan to accommodate aging baby boomers, as well as other seniors, hospitals in Michigan are designing senior-specific emergency rooms, complete with features such as non-glare flooring and padded mattresses, according to The Detroit News.

One facility, The Senior Joseph Mercy Health System, will have eight senior ER rooms by the end of the year and other hospitals are quickly following suit, as the state’s elderly population rises from 567,000 in 2000 to almost 1.2 million in 2035.

Hospital staff have taken many different needs into account by conducting interviews with seniors about their difficulties in hospitals.

“The [hospital] culture is usually get in and get out as fast as you can,” Garry Faja, president of Senior Joseph Mercy Health System, told the news provider. “With the over-65 population, it’s needing to slow down and listen and understand and make sure they understand what’s being presented.”

He also said that the overarching goal of these special accommodations is to reduce the amount of time a senior stays at a hospital and the frequency of visits, especially because new regulations will penalize hospitals if Medicare patients return within 30 days.

Hospital stays can be expensive and it may be possible to return home sooner if there are certain safety measures in place. One measure older adults can take is to ensure that they have a way to send a medical alert to doctors by investing in a personal emergency response system.

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