Mature Adults Present Challenges to Hospital ER Staff

Mature Adults Present Challenges to Hospital ER StaffAugust 3, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

Mature adults, age 65+, now account for approximately 25 percent of all ER visits, and more than 40 percent of all hospital admissions. Cross Country Staffing notes that in order to cope with the challenges these patients present, hospitals nationwide are taking a number of different approaches.

For example, there are now approximately 50 geriatric ERs in operation, with an estimated 150 more in the planning stages. But for many facilities, dedicating an ER to geriatrics is not economically feasible. Another approach is to provide geriatric training for current ER clinicians, or combine training with the addition of geriatric specialists. In most instances, one of the two latter approaches is the best and most cost-effective option for the majority of hospital executives to implement.

According to Dr. Mark Rosenberg, chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), “Our advice to healthcare systems with limited resources is to make the entire emergency department a geriatric emergency department. If the ER is designed for the most frail and vulnerable, it will work for the strongest patients as well.”

To help hospital achieve this goal, ACEP, the American Geriatrics Society, the Emergency Nurses Association, and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine partnered to produce a series of guidelines developed to help hospitals address the challenges presented by the surge in older ER patients requiring care. It took two years of study for the partnership to complete the guidelines, and they have been made available for download at no cost.

However, the challenges to effective hospital staffing include many more variables than geriatrics alone. The Affordable Care Act, and initiatives such as value-based reimbursement, meaningful use, and the prospect of new regulations pertaining to nurse-patient staffing ratios are complex and far reaching.

For more than 35 years, hundreds of healthcare facilities nationwide have trusted Cross Country Staffing to meet their professional healthcare staffing challenges. We invite you to talk with a Cross Country Staffing representative about how we can tailor one of our proven workforce solutions to cost-effectively meet your unique needs. At Cross Country Staffing, we’re ready to prove we are the firm you can depend on for a long-term staffing partnership.