Last week I blogged on companies who were looking to the senior market as a legitimate target audience. Today I came across a New York Times article further reiterating that idea – hospitals are now building emergency rooms designed specifically to cater to the elderly.
Trinity Health System opened the first senior E.R. at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2008, and plans to put one in 19 other hospitals by 2013. The E.R. features non-skid floors, handrails, pressure-reducing mattresses, and even an alarm that is triggered when patients wander. The lighting is much brighter, and rooms come equipped with walkers, reading glasses, or hearing devices. Standard screenings include a cognitive test, one that would not have been given in a traditional E.R.
“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.”
Physicians hope that this new E.R. will also lower readmission rates and reduce the risk of harmful drug interactions.