Middletown’s senior-focused emergency center continues growing in third year

Atrium Medical Center’s emergency center focused on serving the region’s aging population became the first in the Cincinnati area to receive a notable accreditation last month.

The Senior Emergency Center, which opened in April 2017, earned bronze standard Level 3 Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

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The accreditation process took four months and included a panel review by a team of ACEP-appointed physician reviewers and then a board of governors’ review. The GEDA provides a set of guidelines for staffing, equipment, education, policies and procedures, follow-up care, and performance improvement measures.

Being accredited for precisely adhering to those guidelines is “a great honor,” said Missy Fink, nurse and Senior Emergency Center program team leader.

Fink said the Senior Emergency Center sees about 20 percent of the patients who arrive at the facility’s emergency room.

Recently, that has meant seeing between 15 to 20 patients per day, a number that is projected to increase as flu season advances, Fink said.

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The Senior Emergency Center’s volume has doubled since June due to an increase in injuries from falls, abdominal pains and other maladies, she said.

The abundance of nursing homes learning about the center also is contributing to the boost in the number of seniors treated there, Fink said.

While Atrium’s ER handles more critical situations such as patients with chest pains and strokes, the Senior Emergency Center tackles more common occurrences including injuries from falls, abdominal pains, fevers and more, she said.

The center is designed to help seniors and their families feel more comfortable while the patient receives care. Its rooms feature senior-friendly amenities such as fall monitors, additional railings, non-skid floors, soothing colors and reduced lighting and noise levels. The center staff is specially trained in listening, assessing, and addressing the needs of older adults.

“It gives the chance to spend more time with our patients because they’re not the sickest of the sick,” Fink said.

The center has served 5,000 to 6,000 patients each year, according to Dr. David Romano, the center’s medical director.

The response from patients and families who have experienced the Senior Emergency Center has been “overwhelmingly positive” and reflected in patient satisfaction scores, Romano said.

ACEP recognized by Kettering Health Network Emergency-Middletown with Level 3 GEDA accreditation shortly after it did so for Atrium.

Kettering Medical Center in Kettering and Sycamore Medical Center in Miamisburg were recognized with Level 3 GEDA accreditation in September and October, respectively. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center earned Level 1 GEDA accreditation in August 2018 and May 2019, respectively.

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