St. Luke’s Offers ‘Senior Emergency Room’

St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem has launched a Senior Emergency Room program to meet the special needs of emergency department patients who are 75 and older.

“St. Luke’s is committed to helping older adults stay as healthy and independent as possible,” explains Carrie Fleckenstein, Senior Network Director for Senior Care Services. “We recognize that with age come unique challenges and different needs.”

St. Luke’s Senior Emergency Room is not an actual room, but rather a specialized approach providing comprehensive emergency care that is tailored to the specific needs of older adults, and which is delivered by a team of specially-trained doctors, nurses and other experts.

St. Luke’s emergency department nurses with specialized geriatric training evaluate older patients. A risk assessment helps the treatment team determine next steps, such as physical therapy consults for fall risk, pharmacy for medication assessment and comprehensive geriatric consults.

Case management also works with these patients and their caregivers to schedule follow-up appointments and provide other recommendations and resources.

“Our senior-specific processes, procedures and resources are allowing St. Luke’s to improve healthcare outcomes, reducing unnecessary hospitalizations,” Fleckenstein says.

Additionally, the emergency department has been designed and outfitted to meet the needs of older adults. Special features include environmentally friendly, subdued lighting; walls and anti-slip flooring with colors and patterns to enhance depth perception; handrails to assist with balance and lower beds. There are also volunteers with special carts stocked with comfort items for seniors.

“The goal of the St. Luke’s Senior Emergency Room is to provide specialized care to reduce older adults’ need to be admitted to the hospital, and to give them the resources they need to stay healthy and independent,” Fleckenstein adds.

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Media Contact:

Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, samuel.kennedy@sluhn.org

About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of 14,000 employees providing services at 10 hospitals and over 300 outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue of $1.9 billion, the Network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.  Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania.  In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus.  It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 28 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 226 residents and fellows.  St. Luke’s is the only health care system in central-eastern Pennsylvania to earn Medicare’s five-star rating (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction.  St. Luke’s has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health (formerly Truven Health Analytics) repeatedly – six times total and four years in a row including 2018.  It has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program.  Utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information.  St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.