Focused Care for Geriatric Patients

GeriED at SJRMC Nursing UnitAs the population ages, providers are exploring new ways to improve quality of care for elder patients. An innovative leader in health care, St. Joseph’s University Medical Center (SJUMC), a member of St. Joseph’s Health, opened the region’s first dedicated Geriatric Emergency Department (Geriatric ED) nearly 5 years ago. Treating patients age 65 and older, the 20-bed treatment area with thicker mattresses, natural lighting throughout much of the common areas, reduced chaos and noise, is designed to meet the complex needs of older patients in a senior-friendly environment.

With years of experience in the area of geriatric emergency care, St. Joseph’s Health (SJH) clinicians in Adult and Geriatric Emergency Services, as well as Nursing Care, shared their expertise at The New Jersey Hospital Association’s “Geriatric Emergency Department Symposium,” geared towards helping providers, statewide, establish their own geriatric emergency departments.

Approximately 90 percent of the hospitals in the state attended the symposium, which focused on a standardized set of Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines that can effectively improve the care of the geriatric population and can be implemented in any ED. These guidelines create a template for staffing, equipment, education, policies and procedures, follow-up care and performance improvement measures.

The following SJH team members served as speakers at the event:

  • Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, FACOEP-D, Chairman, Emergency Medicine, SJH, who in addition to moderating the symposium, also presented on the topic, “Why We Have to Do It and Making the Business Care.”
  • Marianna Karounos, DO, Chief, Geriatric Emergency Department, SJUMC, and Maria Christensen, PhD, APN, NEA-BC, Administrative Director, Emergency Services, SJUMC, participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Getting On Board!” which focused on the Geriatric Emergency Department Innovations through Workforce, Informatics and Structural Enhancements (GEDI-WISE) project – an integrated multidisciplinary approach to care that incorporates workforce education, training and expansion; evidence‐based geriatric specific clinical protocols; informatics support for patient monitoring and clinical decision support; and structural enhancements to improve patient safety and satisfaction.
  • Maria Brennan, DNP, MSN, RN, CPHQ, Chief Nursing Officer, SJH and Vice President, Patient Care Services, SJUMC, and Suji Thomas, MSN, MBA, RN, Nurse Manager, SJUMC, presented on the topic, “Transitions of Care for the Elderly.” 

December 1, 2014


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