Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima Hospital have opened what they say are the state’s first emergency rooms designed to take better care of the elderly.
Hospital officials say it’s taken a year to renovate and retrofit both emergency rooms so that the physical environments are safer and more welcoming for seniors. Think non-skid floors, large print hospital forms, and portable devices to help the hard of hearing.
Emergency department staff have also taken specialized training in geriatrics, because what works in a medical emergency on a 20 year old might not be safe for an older patient. The hospitals also say they’ll screen older patients for other age-related ailments – like falling or dementia – that could get worse if they’re not caught soon enough.
The move is part of a trend in many hospitals that are anticipating a growing number of older patients as the nation’s baby boomers age.