ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Another sign of the graying of America — dozens of hospitals across the United States now offer special geriatric emergency rooms.

Des Peres Hospital on Dougherty Ferry Road has had a separate geriatric wing since 2009. The special geriatric emergency rooms are set off from the main ER and are designed for comfort and safety. Older patients can enjoy pressure reduction mattresses, foam heel pressure pads and elbow protection. Also the lighting can be adjusted, warmer blankets are provided, and traffic and noise is kept to a minimum.

Washington University’s Dr. Chris Carpenter is working on national guidelines for such ERs in the future. His suggestions follow the same comfort and safety mind set.

“Instead of having the hard beds in the emergency rooms we could offer Lazy Boy chairs for appropriate patience.”

“There are studies out there that shows that is possible. And its a pretty simple intervention.”

Carpenter also suggests hiring and training doctors and nurses with geriatric expertise and even stocking extra hearing and visual aids.

Another big question, Carpenter says is should these geriatric ERs stand alone, using Children’s Hospitals as the model, or make all ERs geriatric friendly.


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