Hospital Modifies Emergency Rooms for Elderly

St. Joseph Hospital is making the Emergency Room experience senior friendly.


St. Jo ER
Jason Robertson, Director of Emergency Medical Services at St. Joseph Hospital, stands in one of the emergency rooms modified for the elderly. Photo by Nicolette Ivy.

By Brad Lucht

It is never fun being admitted to an emergency room at the hospital.  You aren’t feeling well, you might be scared or frightened, you may see nothing but strange faces.  Now imagine going through this as a senior.

To help alleviate some of the anxiety the elderly may experience, St. Joseph Medical Center, 1000 Carondelet Dr., has introduced Senior Comforts Emergency Care.

At a recent Lunch & Learn held at Villa Ventura, Jason Robertson, Director of Emergency Medical Services at St. Joseph, spoke about this new ER feature.

“Older adults make up 55 percent of our ER patients,” said Robertson, “and the average wait time for admission is three and half hours.

Five rooms have been modified to help improve accessibility, safety and comfort for aging patients.

“They are located in a quieter area, off the beaten path, where you can have some privacy while waiting to be admitted to the floor,” added Robertson.

Age-friendly features include: adjustable thermostats to keep the room warmer, adjustable lighting to eliminate glare, easier to read clocks, magnifying glasses and large-print magazines, step stools, slip-resistant floors with handrails and grab bars, and commodes in each room so you don’t have to drag equipment around.  Each room is also larger with extra seating, allowing plenty of room for visitors.

There is no extra cost to use these Senior Comforts rooms.

In response to a question from a Villa Ventura resident, Robertson said that there are several factors that determine whether you receive one of the new rooms:  “The level of care you require, how much monitoring is necessary and if you are in stable condition.” The doctors will consult with your private physician to determine the level of care you require.

In addition, all ER staff at St. Joseph have received training in how to manage older adults who have experienced trauma.

St. Joseph is one of four local hospitals in the Kansas City area owned by Prime Healthcare.  Senior Comforts Emergency Care was originally introduced at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Blue Springs; its success there led to its implementation at St. Joseph.

Lunch & Learn is held at Villa Ventura the third Tuesday of each month. Lunch is provided, so please call ahead to make your reservation.  To learn more about upcoming topics, call Marcia Hines at 816.787.0915 or email her at



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