Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hospitals Building Emergency Rooms for the Elderly - NYTimes.com

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Hospitals nationwide are trying to redefine the E.R. experience for the elderly by building facilities dedicated solely to their needs. St. Joseph Mercy’s parent company, Trinity Health System, opened the nation’s first senior E.R. at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., in 2008 and plans to put one in 19 other hospitals by 2013. Senior E.R.’s, also called geriatric emergency departments, also have opened in Texas, New Jersey, Missouri and Kansas. By year’s end, Mount Sinai Medical Center plans to open Manhattan’s first such facility.

“We’re going to have an increase in people over the age of 65 who are going to take their medical problems with them to hospital emergency departments,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The fact that we’re really preparing for that wave, I think, is important.”

The drive to build senior E.R.’s is motivated in part by hospitals’ desire to find an edge in the increasingly competitive health care marketplace.
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