Recognizing the aging nature of medical care, several hospitals have created emergency rooms specifically designated for older adults. The so-called “senior emergency rooms” include such things as handrails on the walls, nonskid floors, thicker mattresses, softer lighting and larger clocks.
But I don’t want my readers thinking that hospital administrators have turned all soft, warm and fuzzy. No, they admittedly recognize that hospital that fail to attract the growing population of aging adults will lose out on a large piece of the increasingly competitive medical pie. The hospitals admit that they have to attract the aging population or . . . die.
These changes aren’t just “cosmetic” but also relate to the actual diagnosis of patients. One hospital provides cognitive screening upon check in to help identify conditions that might have been missed in a traditional E.R. Of course, it isn’t really clear why hospitals haven’t always done everything possible to identify conditions upon a patient’s entrance into the E.R.
And why are these new measures used only to attract the aging population? Does this mean that I have to resign myself to blinding light, slippery floors and flimsy mattresses until I get my AARP card?