Elderly Get Their Own ER Rooms

And they’re better:

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.

Ms. Spielberger, who is in her 80s, was even getting into the spirit of the place, despite her unnerving condition. “It’s beautiful,” she said. “Everything here is wonderful.”

Yet this was an emergency room, one specifically designed for the elderly, part of a growing trend of hospitals’ trying to cater to the medical needs and sensibilities of aging baby boomers and their parents.

Entire NYT articleworth reading.

Comments (7)

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  1. Joe Barnett says:

    It certainly beats being left on a gurney in a hallway.

  2. Brian says:

    More hospitals are on the way.

  3. Meredith S. says:

    Hey, if there are wards for preemies and special suites for labor/delivery, why not special rooms for seniors? This is another way for hospitals to compete, based on quality of care.

  4. Virginia says:

    Probably a good idea from a hospital’s perspective. My mom’s local hospital got her to buy an “insurance policy” whereby if she’s admitted as an inpatient, she automatically gets a private room and some extra services. She was happy to write the check.

  5. Devon Herrick says:

    This illustrates how important Medicare (i.e. seniors) are to hosptials’ profits. They get their own ER!

  6. Buster says:

    Yeah, when’s the last time you heard of a hospital building a special emergency room for the indigent, homeless or uninsured?

  7. John R. Graham says:

    Like Devon Herrick, I read this article with concern.

    First, we are told continuously by hospitals that they lose money on Medicare patients. So why do they admit Medicare patients at all? It certainly doesn’t make sense to increase investment in special units for Medicare patients.

    Second, I am highly skeptical that this will reduce costs. If the staff are worried about the “squeaky” sounds of metal curtain rings sliding, they are really not focusing on things that will reduce costs.

    Third, it looks like we are seeing an unintended consequence of Medicare payment reform. It looks suspiciously like the hospital is selecting relatively healthy elderly people for this “emergency” room.

    I know the article states that all people over 65 are sent to the geriatric ER, but I would not be surprised, in years to come, to see an audit showing that the sick elderly people stayed in the noisy ER and the healthy ones are escorted upstairs to be subjected to expensive (profitable) tests while enjoying beds with “non-squeaky” curtains.