Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Geriatric ERs

Last week the New York Times ran an article on a new trend in hospital care, the geriatric ER.  Designed for patients 65 and older who are not in an acute situation, the idea is to provide stellar care and reduce the chance of a re-admission.  Non-skid floors, Ipads to request a nurse, simulated sunshine, and rubber loops on the curtains are some of the new perks.  Patients apparently call relatives to rave about the new digs.

Image credit: www.sxc.hu - free image

I have spent a far amount of time in ERs with my parents.  My mother is alive thanks to a pacemaker, my father passed away in 2009 following a long illness.  From my personal experience I would much rather see hospitals placing an emphasis on serving the whole patient rather than creating the Four Seasons in the ER.  All too often we'd see a specialist for one organ who would prescribe a medication or treatment that threw another organ out of whack.  There was a lot of talk of the latest and greatest pill or procedure but not so much on the daily implications of the disease.  Little to no consideration was made of the impact this disease was having on mental health, family dynamics, or financial resources.

My reaction to this story -- forget the technology and focus on the person, they are not just a patient reviewing your facility.  They are a person; part of a family.  Medical workers deal with illness daily, most family members do not.

But that is just my personal opinion.  What's yours?

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