Art of Aging: Making hospitals more senior-friendly

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With the "graying" of America, many institutions are adapting to an older clientele, including hospitals. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News at noon on May 4, 2017. (WPVI)

With the "graying" of America, many institutions are adapting to an older clientele. That includes hospitals.

Clarice Grant never knows what to expect when the phone rings. Grant handles the Senior Navigation Line for Main Line Health, and gets a wide range of calls from patients, family members, and caregivers.

"A lot of callers are looking for transportation assistance, respite care, nursing home placements (and) how to set up a living will or medical directive," she said.

The senior care line began as a pilot project in one hospital, but was so popular it's been extended throughout Main Line Health.

Dr. Thomas Lawrence says the system realized that keeping older patients healthy takes more than just doctors.

"Traditional health care providers are not as versed in how to connect them with those organizations, agencies, and services," said Dr. Thomas Lawrence.

With the US 65-and-older population expected to double by the year 2060, many hospitals are adding special facilities and services.

Last year, Phoenixville Hospital made part of its emergency department more senior-friendly, with comforting lighting, beds, and family areas.

At Nazareth Hospital, Lindsay Lion is the emergency department's nurse navigator, helping Northeast Philadelphia's aging community.

"Our 65 and older population is going to increase, by, I believe 25% in the next 10 years," she said.

Lion helps ER staff care for seniors in the hospital, but she's also concerned with after the emergency.

"Would you like me to make an appointment for you with your primary doctor, would you like me to contact the specialist we're referring you to?" she suggests.

Back at Main Line Health, Clarice Grant also makes follow-up a priority.

"I try very hard to get what they need and try to help them meet that need even if it's out of our system," she said.

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Related Topics:
healthart of aginghealthcheckhospitalshospitalMain Line Health
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