ER for Elderly Features Sudoku, Artificial Skylight

When you picture a visit to the ER with your elderly parent, I’m betting the first word that comes to mind isn’t “calm” When you visualize the environment, would you call it “wonderful”? “Beautiful”?

Probably not. Yet those are some of the adjective that pop up in a New York Times article about an emergency room in New York. Like some other facilities across the country, Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital has opened an ER specially designed for elderly people. The Times describes one visit this way:

There were no beeping machines or blinking lights or scurrying medical residents. A volunteer circulated among the patients like a flight attendant, making soothing conversation and offering reading glasses, Sudoku puzzles and hearing aids. Above them, an artificial sun shined through a skylight imprinted with a photographic rendering of a robin’s-egg-blue sky, puffy clouds and leafy trees.

This geriatric ER also features nonskid floors and rails on the walls to prevent falls, which were a problem in the regular ER.

Hospitals are hoping these new ERs will help ward off problems, including readmission. Elderly people often make for more-complicated patients, the article points out. They may have numerous medications, more than one illness and difficulty expressing problems.

Do you have a geriatric ER in your area? Does it sound like a good idea to you?

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