Displaying items by tag: senior healthcare

Thursday, 05 December 2019 21:55

Emotional Intelligence in Senior Healthcare

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Yesterday evening, I attended an ACHE event entitled "The Principles and Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence in Healthcare." I enjoyed the panelists and the moderator's examples regarding heightened awareness of emotional intelligence in a healthcare setting. Sadly, not all hospitals have an "EQ" (emotional quotient) program in place. Why not? That strikes me as insanely odd.

I understand that IQ cannot be altered, but EQ can be improved over time.

How many times have you been in a situation at a medical office or outpatient facility and heard someone over the age of 65 checking in for an appointment? . . . . and how many times has the staff person talked down to the senior person? The staff needs to know that just because a senior cannot hear well or is confused by a form, they do not need to be shouted at or spoken to as if they are a child. It's as if we believe that IQ diminishes as we get older. It does not.

Every person deserves the dignity to express themselves and be heard. I quietly fired a doctor and replaced him because he disregarded what I asked and glossed over my questions without really addressing my concerns. I cancelled my next appointment and never went back. I have a new physician now. The first time I met my new physician, I explained that I need communication and answers. He is not intimidated. He takes time with me and applauds my homework and my level of detail.

It's only a matter of time before I fall into the category of being labeled as "senior." I will state my case every time the person on the other side of the (healthcare) desk does not exhibit empathy or authenticity toward me, but other people may not be so bold. It's up to the institution of healthcare to make the effort to educate their employees. What is your emotional quotient and are you improving it?

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Tuesday, 08 October 2019 21:51

ED for Seniors?

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Today there are emergency departments designed especially for children. These are set up differently with specific and adjacent waiting areas. The staff are well-educated in the illnesses of children.

At the VA, there are specific mental health sectors in the ED to deal with traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and a host of illnesses that are best treated without visibility to the typical ED patients and families. Behavioral health has become synonomous with privacy and specific treatment regimes. At the very least, a standard ED department should have a mental health professional on staff at all times.

Why then, do we not provide a specialty ED for those over the age of 65? With the changing demographics of the US population and seniors predicted to out-number our children in the next 9 years, it is highly likely that senior ED's will be the norm. Seniors require medical staff with knowledge of their lifestyles and characteristic ailments. Gerontologists need to evaluate the patients and determine if they are capable of making their own medical decisions. If not, the families and caregivers need to be incorporated in treatment programs.

In her blog post, Anne-Marie Botek, listed the senior emergency room design offering:

  • Floors with more traction and less glare
  • Lighting that is gentler on elderly eyes
  • Reclining chairs and mattresses designed to lessen pressure
  • Personal rooms for patients
  • Telephones, clocks and documents with larger print
  • Blankets warmed in ovens
  • Equipment to aid in hearing/communication between patient and health professional

What if families are far away? Teleconferences with families need to be immediately available. It is possible that Dad or Grandad has chosen to hide his medical condition from his family. This is his decision, but staff are there to explain and prepare him for what lies ahead as his illness progresses. Plans need to be made for caregivers if he needs help.

The idea of self-contained "Senior Emergency Medicine Clinics" seems feasible and necessary. If this is not enacted, those 65 and over will impede the flow of the typical ED and cause the ED's to reach capacity with regularity. The solution is as simple as a re-direction of the group to a more resourceful staff at a facility built specifically for their needs.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the good news is that more than 50 geriatric emergency departments have earned the Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) and 100 more ED's are in the process of accreditation.