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Multi-unit team designs senior ED
Once the decision was made in July 2007 to create a senior emergency center at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD, Bonnie Mahon, RN, BSN, MSN, senior director of medical, surgical, and senior services, put together a team that included two ED physicians, the chief nurse, the nurse manager, and a director of case management.
Fortunately, there was space available within the ED itself to create a separate department. "We just knocked down a wall," she says. "It had its own nurses' station, six bays, and two rooms."
The team changed the lighting based on the recommendations of elder care expert Bill H. Thomas, MD, and his colleagues from the University of Maryland Baltimore County Erickson School. The school offers a major in management of aging services, and it describes itself as "part business school, part aging studies, and part public policy."
"Their specialty is aging," says Mahon. Upon their recommendation, the shiny linoleum floors were replaced with nonskid faux wood. Light dimmers were placed in all bays, with switches in the nurses' stations. "Normal fluorescent lighting creates 'hot spots' on the floors that can affect depth perception and cause falls," she explains. The walls were painted in warm colors such as gold, and all rooms or bays have a clock and/or a TV.
The renovations cost a total of $150,000, Mahon reports. "We were very fortunate that in 2007, the hospital fundraiser was dedicated to seniors, so the money raised went toward creating the center," she says.