Geriatric Emergency Rooms

Several hospitals have transformed their emergency rooms, including New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

Mount Sinai is the first hospital in New York to open a Geriatric Emergency Department. Geriatric emergency rooms are specifically designed for older patients, who often find regular emergency rooms chaotic and overwhelming.

“The emergency department is not a great place to hang out for anyone, but it can be especially tough if you are older,” says Denise Nassisi, an emergency medicine doctor. “Many older patients are frail and have difficulty getting up and down from a gurney or getting to a restroom. Some have cognitive dysfunction and don’t know their medical history. Some may have impaired vision or hearing. A crowded chaotic environment is not the best for them.”

To ease these challenges, the American College of Emergency Physicians has launched an accreditation program for geriatric emergency rooms. Special features, including non-skid flooring and handrails are built into geriatric emergency rooms. To improve safety and comfort, items such as hearing aids and reading glasses are available to patients. Physicians and nurses receive specialized geriatric training and follow-up with patients after discharge.

The geriatric emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital has helped improve patient care by making geriatric care a priority.