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Siouxland mirrors the trend that the state of Iowa is experiencing. The population continues to age with the number of residents 65 years of age and older is expected to be the fastest growing segment of our population for the foreseeable future. As a response to that trend, Mercy Medical Center today announced a series of emergency room enhancements that address the special needs of seniors.

Paul Leavens, Director of Emergency Services at Mercy, says the increasing number of senior visits to the ER caused Mercy to develop innovative ways to provide care to this part of the population. “We have created an approach that builds on our commitment to providing quality care for seniors – a customized care experience that preserves the dignity of patients, supports their caregivers, and improves the overall health of our community, says Leavens. “When an older adult enters our ER, we want them to feel they are in a comfortable, safe and caring environment.”

Mercy Medical Center, a member of Trinity Health, has joined other member hospitals across the United States in implementing a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive emergency medical care program for seniors. While the first Senior ER was created by Trinity Health’s Silver Spring, Md.-based Holy Cross Hospital, Trinity Health has subsequently advanced its Senior ER program to feature a definitive, replicable model involving specific improvements in three essential areas – culture, physical environment and operations.

The addition of new senior services to the Mercy ER focus on three critical areas:

Culture. Unlike the typical ER, where staff are trained to treat patients rapidly and view each visit as an isolated incident, all of Mercy’s ER nurses have completed specialized training that will enable them to address the underlying factors that often play into a senior’s overall health before, during and after their visit to the Senior ER.

Physical environment. The environment has been designed to reduce anxiety and confusion, and includes such enhancements as pressure reduction mattresses, non-glare floors, noise reduction, large-faced clocks and large-print forms.

Operations. The new Senior ER features a highly skilled team of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and social workers focused on the care of seniors – a specialized organizational structure dedicated to continually improving the quality of care Mercy provides to seniors. The team carefully assesses the patient’s condition and works to ensure a seamless transition home – or to another care setting that best fits their needs. This process, which includes follow-up contact with patients and linking them to key resources like home health services, is intended to address one of the greatest challenges with seniors – recurring visits to the ER for the same health issue.

“The transformations Mercy Medical Center has put in place are part of a major change in the culture and philosophy of care for seniors,” added Ray Sencenbaugh, the Manager of the Mercy ER. “This change is rooted in our longstanding commitment to treating the ‘whole person,’ and we are proud to play a leadership role in doing care the right way for Siouxland’s large and growing senior population.”

For more information, contact:
Jim Wharton, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development (712) 279-2732
Dianne Krier, Mercy Marketing and Communications Coordinator (712) 279-5682
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Mercy Medical Center Sioux City | 801 Fifth Street, Sioux City Iowa 51102 | 712-279-2010