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Ask the Expert: Geriatric Emergency

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- A team at Bethesda North Hospital recently got some high profile help raising money for what's called a "geriatric friendly" emergency room.
When it comes to the demand for services in an emergency room it's medical director Doctor Ken Patton saying they see all kinds of trauma such as car and industrial accidents.

Dr. Patton said, "But truly, the emergency department sees most cardiac, strokes, and more higher acute patients."

Those patients most often are older adults which is why Patton's team recently launched a new campaign to raise money to create what's called a "geriatric friendly" emergency department.  What geriatric friendly means is having structural enhancements and care coordination.  The geriatric friendly emergency department is part of a newer national trend.  But it also means very specific steps for that population and also a few additional things that could benefit all of us in the long run.

These things may include everything from non slip flooring to handrails to changes in lighting to reduce glare for reading discharge instructions.  All of those steps have been shown to decrease the confusion and anxiety for patients.

To get the funding for this ER expansion project  Patton's team recently brought in some high profile help in Captain Mark Kelly.  You likely know him as an astronaut and the husband of Gabrielle Giffords.  Giffords was the Arizona politician who survived an attempt on her life and has made a dramatic recovery.
In an exclusive one-on-one interview at a fundraiser for the new ER project Kelly told Local 12's Liz Bonis he credits exceptional emergency care with Gabby's ability to initially overcome a traumatic injury to the brain.

"Without the team of doctors in Houston there, she would not have survived," said Kelly.

Kelly is passionate about using the tragedy that day to draw attention to what matters most, "It makes you realize things can drastically in an instant.  You know we really want to make a positive difference and take a pretty horrific thing that happened to her and her constituents in a community and turn it into a positive."

He told Liz Bonis it's not there for him yet, but supporting the mission of a geriatric friendly emergency department under Patton's direction brings him closer to his own mission as well.

"Fortunately for us and for Gabby she survived and is working really hard to make a comeback," said Kelly.

And a reminder, Local 12 invites you to submit your questions for providers at TriHealth.  CLICK HERE to submit your question.

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