HomeThe Senior-Friendly EDAccessibility - Equipment and EnvironmentEquipment and Supplies in the Senior-Friendly ED

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Accessibility - Equipment and Environment

Equipment and Supplies in the Senior-Friendly ED

Adapted from the Geriatric Emergency Guidelines, Equipment and Supplies section

Equipment and Supplies in the Senior-Friendly ED

A senior-friendly emergency department may not look much different from any other ED. It is certainly true that the core of a senior-friendly ED is the people and processes.
However, there are a few supplies that are definitely useful to ensure safety and comfort.

Here are a few examples:

  • Walking aids especially two-wheeled walkers and canes (Make sure that you have a few available in the ER, and having the possibility to buy or rent them is a plus);
  • Portable  hearing assist devices (known as Pocket talkers) to increase communication
  • Non-slip socks (prevent falls in the ED and at home)
  • Geriatric chairs (favor mobilization)
  • Extra chairs for families (They needs to feel that they are welcomed to stay as long as they want with their loved ones)
  • Decubitus ulcer prevention mattress (expensive to buy – but ulcers are expensive to treat!)
  • Condom catheters (Help to avoid UTI)
  • Visual orientation improvement (calendars, clocks, access to natural light)
  • Handrails on wall and hallways

If you are preparing a proposal for improvement in your ED, these items above are the ones to prioritize for the following reasons:

  • Decrease falls in the ED
  • Decrease admission and accelerate discharge
  • Increase communication and family involvement (decreasing admission!)
  • Increase mobilisation (decrease deconditioning, decrease LOS in hospital)
  • Decrease UTI (aka delirium, hospital stay prolongation, antibiotic cost, c. difficile, etc.)
  • Decrease delirium incidence (decrease LOS, mortality and morbidity)

Overall, any of these pieces of equipment is absolutely a good investment!

If your hospital is planning on major renovation, then there are a few more items to consider that are not covered here (e.g. wall colour contrast, etc.). While it would be a great thing if every ED could do some renovations (build walls to separate beds instead of curtains, increase space etc), it is not a barrier to get to the final product: an effective senior-friendly ED.

The guidelines end this section with this line, and so will I:

“Hospitals are expected to utilize their existing resources to meet the needs of this population. With minimal additional expense for equipment suggested above, geriatric care can be optimized.”

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Profile photo of Audrey-Anne Brousseau
I graduated as an Emergency Physician from Université Laval in 2016 and I completed a Fellowship in Geriatric Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto in 2017. My specific interests are in teaching, research and management of the ED with one objective: Providing the best care for older adults in the Emergency Department.

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