This is the press release announcing the opening of the Port Huron Senior Emergency Center. My comments are between the blocks.
During emergencies, senior citizens will have experiences tailored to their specialized needs at St. Mercy Port Huron.
Providing care that is optimized for older people doesn’t just happen by accident, it takes a huge amount of planning, training and perseverance.
By Jan. 1, 2011, emergency departments of the hospital system will have a senior emergency department, with amenities catering to the elderly population and staff specially trained in geriatric emergency care.
There are only a handful Senior Emergency Centers in the USA and Trinity operates nearly all of them.
The Port Huron location is expected to be open by Oct. 4.
The project has been in the works since the start of the year, said Stephanie Armstrong-Helton, marketing director for the hospital.
Seniors who go to the emergency department will receive services in different rooms. Four of the 15 private rooms in the emergency department are being converted for the senior department, Armstrong-Helton said.
The great thing about learning to optimize care for older people is that everything that is good for them, winds up being good for younger people too. Consider the list below…
The senior emergency department’s rooms will include pressure-reducing mattresses, soft lighting, noise buffers, reclining chairs, non-slip/non-glare floors, oversized clocks and large-print directional signage, charts and discharge papers.
“We’re going from the loud, hustle and bustle to taking a step back,” said Tammi Stapleton, director of emergency services at the hospital.
Aside from the physical changes, Stapleton said she is excited about the specialized care that is to be provided to seniors.
“Having been a child with an older parent, trying to navigate through the health care system, you often get lost in the shuffle,” she said.
Stapleton said the staff would receive additional training to enhance their ability to recognize issues seniors face.
Navigating the health care system is a difficult proposition, this model helps make it easier.
A care coordinator also will work with the patients and/or caregivers to help them get through the health care system and set up referrals, make sure patients have necessary equipment such as walkers and pass information on to the patients’ primary-care physicians.
“From the emergency department, that’s often where the disconnect is,” Stapleton said of communicating information from that visit to the primary care doctor. Patients also will receive follow-up calls within 48 hours of their visits, she said.
In addition to the department at Port Huron, specialized senior departments are being developed at Chelsea Community Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, St. Joseph Mercy Brighton, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and St. Joseph Mercy Saline. St. Mary Mercy Livonia opened its doors July 14.
Collectively, the departments will serve five counties where senior citizens represent 21% to 25% of the total population, Armstrong-Helton said.
She noted the development won’t amount to “cookie-cutter” care for the senior population.
Next stop, world domination!
“We recognize that care has to be provided uniquely and individually,” she said.
Contact Crystal Garcia at (810) 989-6276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.