Hurley’s New Emergency Dept. Focuses on Older Adults
March 6-Hurley’s new Paul F. Reinhart Emergency Trauma Center, opened March 4, 2012, provides the highest quality adult and pediatric emergency and trauma care available anywhere, further establishing Hurley as a world-class teaching hospital and research center of excellence.
As well as providing the latest in innovative, life-saving technology, Hurley’s new ED focuses on the older adult experience and how best to serve this population.
John Stewart, Director of Hurley Medical Center’s Emergency Department (ED), explained Hurley’s intentional emphasis on senior patients. “After interviewing many of the geriatricians and internal medicine physicians who treat geriatric patients, we were able to understand some of the concerns they and their patients had about their ER experience here at Hurley. We were also guided by evidence-based practices that parallel some of the process changes we were already making,” he said.
“To make sure our older adult patients have a positive ED experience,” Stewart continued, “we’re implementing specific training for our physician and nursing staff throughout the entire department. The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) offers a geriatric training module called Geriatric Emergency Nursing Education (GENE) and we’re mandating our staff to complete this. It educates clinicians about the physiological changes in the aged population and what interventions best meet their needs. When our staff is caring for an aged patient, they will be particularly sensitive to their specific situation,” Stewart said.
Some of the many features geared specifically to seniors:
1) Fast track. If you are 65 or older and come to the triage (greeting) area, you will go straight to a patient care room, not the Waiting Area.
2) Thicker mattresses on all beds and stretchers. The skin of older adults is thinner, tears more easily, and is more susceptible to decubitus ulcers (bed sores).
3) Private rooms. All rooms are individual private rooms, decreasing the confusion and chaos usually associated with emergency departments.
4) Climate control. Geriatric patients become cold more easily than the rest of the population; multiple heating/cooling zones exist throughout the ED which allows ambient temperatures to be adjusted accordingly.
5) Blanket warmers allow staff to provide heated blankets to better support individual patients’ needs.
6) Adjustable lighting. Older patients often get confused by bright lights, or when daylight fades into night. Each patient care room has adjustable light settings.
7) Handrails. All ED walls in walking areas have handrails on both sides of the corridors.
8) Non-glaring floor surfaces decrease light reflection which can lead to a trip or fall.
9) Lighting casts light up and out, causing less shadowing.
10) Increased signage helps older patients and their families find their way easier.
11) More clocks throughout the ED help patients stay oriented to the time of day or night.
12) Name boards in each room identifying the care provider, the patient’s name, what he/she wants to be called, and what his/her goals are.
13) Cardiac monitor in every room.
14) New portable phone system will eliminate overhead paging and decrease noise throughout the ED. Every care provider will have his/her own mobile phone with advanced technology that allows nurses to directly receive call lights and patient care monitor alarms. These cutting-edge phones also have intra-departmental texting capabilities, promoting enhanced voice-free communications and further eliminating the need for loud overhead paging.
The first medical facility to concentrate attention on the needs of the geriatric population
“Hurley has done an excellent job of integrating these geriatric-specific elements into the Emergency Department’s overall design,” Stewart added, “while not losing any interoperability of the department for all age ranges. The older adult experience will be very noticeably different.”
In Genesee County’s immediate area, Hurley is the first medical facility to concentrate attention on the needs of the geriatric population. With 10,000 people turning 65 or older every day, this group will continue to be a growing force in the next 10-30 years. As this comes to pass, Hurley Medical Center and the Paul F. Reinhart Emergency Trauma Center will be well-positioned to care for them with the highest quality critical care they deserve.