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Making a difference: Emergency Room with age spin

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February 20th, 2009
Doctor, patient, and nurse in the hospital
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Yesterday, news media picked up on a story about Holy Cross Hospital in Maryland and there changing the way Emergency Rooms (ER) are designed, particularly for the senior or elder crowd. Why is it needed? Different needs as we age is the answer. And, respect, dignity, and care are the results. I try not to use this blog as a forum for promoting our organization because I think its better to have our residents, customers tell our story. However, every once in awhile I feel the need to tell a story of which I am so proud. This is one of those stories. Here is the news that needs to be told, spread, and have others in healthcare join with us in promoting. The outcome? Improving people's lives. What a concept! Erickson Helps to Establish Nation s First Senior-Centric ER ' Erickson Health, the largest and most completely integrated wellness and healthcare system for older adults in the U.S., is helping Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., establish an electronic medical records system and database for its first-in-the-nation emergency room specifically tailored to serve a growing senior population. Internationally renowned eldercare expert Bill H. Thomas, MD, and his team at The Erickson School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, worked closely with the hospital and a team of community seniors to design the emergency room during its development phase. Last year, Holy Cross Hospital provided emergency care to more than 12,000 seniors in the emergency center and admitted more than 5,700 senior patients. The six-bay Holy Cross Hospital Seniors Emergency Center opened in November 2008 and is a separate, enclosed area of the main Emergency Center that provides safe, efficient emergency services designed to meet the complex, uncertain needs of non-acute elderly patients and those who care for them. The Holy Cross Hospital Seniors Emergency Center has a separate entrance just off the main waiting room and, in addition to the six curtained bays, includes a nursing station designed for increased visibility, a private patient room and another room for private family consultations. The environment was scientifically designed to reduce anxiety, confusion and risk of falling. Some of the upgrades include special senior-friendly lighting, soft colors, noise abatement features, hand rails and special flooring that reflects light in a way that makes missteps less likely. All patients will continue to be triaged upon coming to Holy Cross Hospital Emergency Center; about 75 percent of triaged seniors will meet the criteria for the Seniors Emergency Center. About Erickson Health: The Erickson Health system s integrated network of physicians, services, technology, and research empower people to live even better, no matter what their health. Erickson Health utilizes a fully implemented electronic medical record system as well as a health portal for residents. Also available is a unique residents-only health insurance plan (a Medicare Advantage plan) with lower premiums and co-pays that focuses on prevention. Erickson Health is part of Erickson Retirement Communities. Erickson Health coordinates care on-site among various health providers, programs, and services, as well as off-site to primary care doctors, physician specialists, and facilities. This is done person-to-person and through the use of electronic medical records (EMRs). The Centricity electronic medical records system is 100% implemented throughout all Erickson communities. This includes the medical centers, rehabilitation services, assisted living facilities, long-term care venues, home care services, and emergency medical services. Erickson community residents can also access their health records via a Resident Health Portal. Although the costs of acquiring and maintaining EMRs are substantial, they are offset by the financial benefits. One study demonstrated that a major academic medical center recouped its EMR invest ' ment within 16 months. ' Erickson Health expects that providers having instant, real-time access to data will allow for significant cost savings due to avoided complications and overall improved care quality.

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