Winter Park Memorial debuts ER for seniors

Published: 
May 5, 2015


Winter Park Memorial Hospital is launching its Senior Emergency Room (ER), the first of its kind in Central Florida to serve this growing population. The Senior ER was created to promote healing, reduce anxiety and minimize risks that may accompany hospitalization.

The Senior ER features a team of physicians and clinicians who have specialized training in geriatric emergency medicine. This includes dedicated care coordinators who provide support and connect seniors to resources in the community. The coordinators use a specialized assessment designed to identify and address individual health and quality of life concerns for seniors.

The Senior ER is located within the Winter Park Memorial Health Emergency Department. In addition to the specialized training, added amenities will help seniors feel more comfortable as they seek care. These amenities will include magnifying glasses, hearing amplifiers, large-print publications and crossword puzzles, and high-back chairs that are easier for seniors and their caregivers to maneuver.

The number of Americans who are 65 years and older are expected to skyrocket by 2030, and seniors are projected to be the fastest growing age segment in Central Florida in the next five years.

“Seniors are a vital part of our community, and it is important for us to recognize and take their unique needs into consideration,” said Ken Bradley, administrator of Winter Park Memorial Hospital. “While we made several aesthetic changes to make their experience in our hospital more comfortable, the greatest asset of the Senior ER is our staff who are trained in best-practices of geriatric care. All patients will continue to receive exemplary and compassionate care at our hospital, and seniors can be assured their distinctive health needs are also being assessed.”

At the Senior ER, care coordinators talk with the patients to determine if they need additional services or more comprehensive screenings, such as neurological or nutritional assessments. The team also works with patients and their caregiver to create a safe plan for their return home, and assists with alternative care options if needed.

Nurses in the Senior ER completed Geriatric Emergency Nursing Education (GENE) training, a highly regarded national program that teaches clinicians about the special needs of seniors and how to improve their health. Additionally, emergency department physicians, nurses, pharmacists and care coordinators work together to create a comprehensive plan of care.

“By integrating a multi-specialty team in the patient’s care, we see better results,” said Dr. Leonardo Cisneros, medical director of the Winter Park Memorial Hospital Emergency Department. “Patients — especially seniors — can rest assured we strive to heal body, mind and spirit at all stages of life.”