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Lutheran Medical Center Now Has ER Especially For Seniors

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Jim Dershem, a patient in the new ER at Lutheran Medical Center (credit: CBS)

Jim Dershem, a patient in the new ER at Lutheran Medical Center (credit: CBS)

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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – There’s now a quieter, gentler emergency room. Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge now has an ER especially for seniors.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh found out what makes the new ER a better experience for the elderly.

“I’ve had a background of heart problems and so forth,” 84-year-old Jim Dershem told Walsh.

So when Dershem complained of chest pains, his doctor sent him to the emergency room at Lutheran Medical Center, but it’s an unusual ER. It has soft lighting, easy-to-read clocks, a non-skid floor and special recliners.

It’s the first ER in Colorado constructed with seniors in mind. It’s got pocket talkers to help those hard of hearing and walkers for those who need help getting around.

“It’s quiet in here; doesn’t have the traffic and all that,” Dershem said.

That’s the idea — make things less stressful for people over 65 years old, especially those with memory problems.

“Because the hecticness of a regular ER, the noise, the clamoring can actually induce a worsening of dementia for a short time,” said Jan Dionne, an MSN, RN at Lutheran Medical Center.

Lutheran Medical Center opened the new ER in October to meet the needs of an already large and growing elderly community. In the first week the staff saw more than 100 patients.

Seniors feel safe there.

“I really appreciate what they’ve done,” Dershem said.

There are thicker, more comfortable mattresses, magnifiers, more privacy, and even curtains with beautiful scenes to help patients relax.

The resources extend beyond the ER such as social workers.

Lutheran Medical Center has the second busiest ER in the Denver metro area.

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