At St. Luke’s University Health Network, we value seniors and are determined to provide our older patients safe, high quality care in a gentle, kind and respectful manner. We also appreciate that caring for an older adult is challenging. Whether you’re a spouse with your own healthcare needs, or an adult child who has stepped up to care for a parent, we’re here to guide and support you.
In the Hospital
From our emergency rooms to nursing units, we strive to comfort older patients. We educate our staff to address the complex needs of seniors through a program called Nurses Improving Care for Health Care Elders (NICHE). We identify older adults at risk and provide enhanced services to reduce potential complications and make their stays more comfortable with specialized initiatives including Acute Care of the Elderly (ACE) and our Senior Surgical Services program.
We offer a wide range of healthcare services to help seniors remain as healthy and independent as possible. The geriatric specialists at St. Luke’s Senior Care Associates provide comprehensive physical, cognitive and social evaluations at our Center for Positive Aging. Our geriatricians then partner with social workers and caregivers to develop customized care plans for each of our patients. In addition, our care team provides information about helpful community resources and offers a variety of services to support the caregiver.
St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem features a Senior Emergency Room program to meet the special needs of emergency department patients who are 75 and older.
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.
Additionally, the emergency room 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
- lower beds
There are also volunteers with special carts stocked with comfort items for seniors.