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Saint Mary’s announces plans to launch new senior emergency care services



Growth in aging population sparks need for specialized healthcare services

The future of healthcare is rapidly evolving and Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center announced today that it will launch the region’s first service line focused on senior emergency care. The new service, beginning in June 2011, will provide seniors throughout the Reno-Sparks community with greater resources to manage emergency health conditions.

A recent survey from the American College of Emergency Physicians shows emergency room visits are growing nationwide. One factor behind this increase is the growth of the aging population, who tend to utilize emergency care more often than younger patients. At Saint Mary’s, more than 20 percent of annual emergency room visits is from patients 65 and older.  Common diagnoses among this population include chest pain, urinary-tract infections, dizziness and fainting, joint pain, difficulty breathing, headaches and abdominal pain. Seniors need access to emergency care because these symptoms can be a sign of a more serious illness, requiring immediate medical attention and treatment.

“It is essential to provide patients with additional resources that keep them healthy long-term, which is why we are enhancing services offered to senior emergency room patients,” said Shelby Hunt, RN, director of emergency services at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center. “Our team of geriatric-trained nurses, physicians and emergency room clinical staff have come together to provide senior patients with an improved emergency room experience targeted more specifically to their needs.”

In June 2011, Saint Mary’s will offer senior emergency room patients new services aimed to enhance the level of care provided. Included in the line of services are nurses who have specialized training in the care of seniors. These nurses will be critical to providing senior patients with medical expertise related to healthy aging. Additionally, Saint Mary’s will have 24/7 nurse coaches in the emergency room, making sure patients receive records of their visit, understand medication instructions, obtain proper follow-up care and receive consistent communications from clinical staff. A home-health liaison will also be added to the ER staff and will closely with senior patients, providing them with home care options and advice on how best to manage their conditions.

In addition to the new services that will be offered, Saint Mary’s will make its ER more comfortable and accommodating to seniors.  The ER will include comfortable recliner seating for loved ones, clocks with larger numbers, larger-print forms for easier reading and softer mattresses that provide extra comfort, something the ER already offers.

Saint Mary’s is a leader in senior care and, over the past year, ranked in the top 10 of all Catholic Healthcare West hospitals for emergency department patient satisfaction. Additionally, Saint Mary’s complies with all national Medicare standards, in accordance with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare website.

“It is becoming a trend among hospitals nationwide to develop services in the emergency room specific to seniors because of the projected growth volume among this population,” said Hunt.    “We know seniors require a unique set of resources, and we are committed to providing excellent care to this population.”

To learn more about Saint Mary’s Emergency Care services, visit www.saintmarysreno.org.

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About Saint Mary’s

Saint Mary’s Network is a fully-integrated, faith-based health system in Reno, Nev. founded in 1908 by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael.  The network is comprised of Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, an acute-care hospital, providing inpatient, outpatient and wellness services; Saint Mary’s Health Plans, a statewide insurance provider with more than 40,000 members; and Saint Mary’s Medical Group, a network of physicians and other health professionals offering primary and urgent care, retail clinics and specialty healthcare.  A member of Catholic Healthcare West, Saint Mary’s is dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs of our community. For more information, visit our website at www.saintmarysreno.org.

About Catholic Healthcare West

Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), headquartered in San Francisco, CA, is a system of 40 hospitals and medical centers in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Founded in 1986, it is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health care systems and the largest private hospital system in California. CHW is committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health care services with special attention to the poor and underserved. The CHW network of nearly 10,000 physicians and approximately 54,000 employees provides health care services to more than five million people annually. In 2010, CHW provided more than $1.3 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed patient care. For more information, please visit our website at www.chwHEALTH.org.

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