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Senior ED Program is a Winner By Almost Every Measure

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, November 15, 2013

The test group is surprisingly similar from year to year. There were

  • 2,286 visits analyzed for 2013 with a mean age of 78 years
  • 2012 data were drawn from 2,260 eligible visits, also with a mean age of 78
  • Sixty percent were female in 2012 and 58% in 2013
  • Only patients treated between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. were studied

The senior ED is not so much a physical location as it is a program, Wilber stresses, adding that if seniors knew they were being directed to a separate facility based on age, many would probably resist such treatment.

"As my dad said to me when we were coming up with this idea, he wouldn't really want be in there," says Wilber. "The beauty is that for patients it's fairly transparent. So it's not a physical location, but a program."

That said, there are some physical differences in the rooms set aside for the senior ED, but along with the renovation of its EDs system-wide, Summa made the whole ED amenable to senior patients whose mobility and other functions may be compromised. Wilber and his team piloted the senior ED at Akron City Hospital, the system's largest, and they are now rolling its processes out to two other hospitals in the system.

Patients all come in through the same process, but seniors are triaged preferentially into beds that feature bedside toilets, nonskid floors, and appropriate lighting, he says.

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