Saint Joseph’s Hospital To Expand Senior Services

The Senior Emergency Department at Saint Joseph Hospital opened in October 2012 with six beds. We look forward to doubling our capacity with the opening of the new hospital in December 2014.

Patient and family satisfaction with the Senior Emergency Depart­ments quieter, friendly setting is very high. All of the Emergency De­partment staff nurses, assistants, physicians, technicians and volunteers attended a special geriatric training program before the unit opened last fall.

Seniors are screened for spe­cial needs, safety/risk at home with referrals regularly made to pharmacy, visiting nurse and homecare agencies and physical therapy. When needed, we plan for a transition to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility or other community agency. We aim to assist the patient and their families in keeping seniors as in­dependent in their homes as pos­sible and realistic through these referrals. The physical space was improved to include a more peaceful emergency visit through softer lighting, skid proof floor­ing, thicker mattresses, walls between rooms, information board and educational materials and specialized equipment to as­sist those with difficulty hearing or seeing. A special favorite is our thick curtains with beautiful mountain scenery.

The Senior Emergency is called EMBRACE (Emergency Medicine Bridging Acute Care for the Elderly) to embrace our seniors and their families with support and education. Our team assists in providing infor­mation and receives guidance from the patient’s primary care medical team or clinic.

Our care does not end when you leave the Senior Emergency Department as many follow-up calls are made to patients to check: Are there any new needs or symptoms? Are further referrals needed to help patients and their families? The special team who guides this program includes: a geriatrician, emer­gency physician, pharmacist, case manager, hospital leader­ship and a dedicated Senior Emergency Department nurse clinical specialist. Our two other hospital sites, Lutheran Medi­cal Center in Wheat Ridge and Good Samaritan in Broomfield, have opened senior units in their Emergency Departments. For further information, you can contact the Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital Senior Emergency Department Program Manager, Jeanne Williams, RN, MSN at 303-318-3371.

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