The first Senior Emergency Room in the region and in Colorado
When Exempla Lutheran Medical Center opened the state’s first Senior Emergency Room more than two years ago, the demand for specialized services for local elderly patients needing emergency care quickly increased. To meet those needs, Lutheran has built a larger and more spacious Senior ER in previously vacant space and in concert with the complete renovation of the Lutheran Emergency Department.
The new Senior ER opens with 14 specially-designed, private patient rooms and a 40 percent increase in space, from 2,500 square feet to 13,500 square feet. The Senior ER will have all the specialized care, screenings and environment of the previous eight-bed space in order to provide a less chaotic and stressful experience for older patients and to meet their specific needs.
“The need for this service has been growing along with the aging population in Jefferson County,” said Bev White, director of the Emergency Department and Critical Care. “About 22 percent of our emergency patients are seen in the Senior ER now, and many patients know about it and request this service.”
The amenities and technologies in the Senior ER are designed especially for the comfort and well-being of older adults. The mattresses are thicker and pressure-reducing, the area has non-skid flooring, and soft lighting, as well as assistive devices for those with difficulties walking, hearing and seeing.
The staff is specially trained in geriatric nursing care and the use of screenings for older patients. One of the goals is to help seniors return to the right care setting when they are released from the hospital to reduce the chances that they will end up back in the ER due to a health crisis.
“The care management team works with each patient and helps them with community resources they may need,” said Jan Dionne, clinical nurse specialist and program manager for the Senior ER. “Only about 21 percent to 23 percent of our senior patients need to be admitted to the hospital for further treatment.”
Lutheran Medical Center’s Senior E.R. is NICHE Certified (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders.) The nurses dedicated to this unit also completed the GENE (Geriatric Emergency Nursing Education) Program - specialized education for nurses developed by the Emergency Nurses Association. In addition, physicians and nurses took workshops in sensory appreciation and ageism to learn how to better communicate with older adults and their caregivers.
Thicker, pressure-reducing mattresses
Recliners available for patients requiring upright positions
Hearing and Visual Aids
Non-skid flooring to reduce the risk of falls
Assistive devices for ambulation
- Softer room lighting with large digital clocks
To give excellent emergency care to seniors in our community including specialized screening and care
To provide a less chaotic and stressful environment for our senior patients
To optimize the discharge of our senior patients to the most appropriate and safe environment
To provide follow up guidance resources
Rest assured. Lutheran knows seniors.
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