Every year, almost 50,000 patients, 24/7, come through the doors of Richmond Hospital's Emergency Department. To meet growing demands, the department was recently renovated in 2011, with over 2,000 square feet of space added.
Richmond Hospital Foundation, on behalf of its donors, contributed $1 million to the project and over the years has funded a variety of new medical equipment for use by the Emergency team.
These additions have had a significant impact in improving efficiency and reducing patient wait times, but there are many other levels to emergency care that aren't as well known. For example, older adults often need further support when they visit our Emergency Department. That's why we have two distinct teams of nurses - Seniors Emergency Nurses and Seniors Transition Nurses - dedicated to making sure that seniors receive quality care, even after they exit the doors of the hospital itself.
Seniors Emergency Nurses were introduced to Richmond Hospital a year ago to help adults over 70 years of age. They work each day to provide the best care to seniors who go through Emergency, to evaluate their well-being, and to help them understand more about the care they are receiving.
The assessment is holistic in its approach and takes into consideration aspects such as physical challenges, mental health, risks-at-home, as well as social supports including assistance from family members.
After evaluating all of these areas, Seniors Emergency Nurses report back to the attending physician with in-depth information about the patient's unique circumstances so they can help ensure the best possible care. Every person is unique and needs to be treated that way to improve their outcome and recovery.
After senior patients are discharged from our Emergency Department, Seniors Transition Nurses follow up a few days later by phoning to see how they are fairing at home.
They find out whether there is a decline in the patient's condition and, if needed, connect them to resources in our community such as home support, counselling, cleaning services, meal delivery programs, social and recreational services, or other health care services offered by Vancouver Coastal Health-Richmond.
Often, because going through Emergency can be such an emotional experience, some patients may forget information given to them at discharge. During their calls, Seniors Transition Nurses reiterate crucial medical information and confirm that follow-up appointments with doctors are made. By ensuring older adult patients receive the care they need at home, these nurses provide a safety net that can potentially reduce the chance of a patient returning to hospital.
As for the nurses, they say working with seniors through this program has been the most rewarding job they've ever had in health care.
As Richmond's population grows and ages, our Seniors Nurses' roles will continue to take on greater importance. Their work reassures seniors that they won't have to find their way back to health alone after they leave our hospital.
To make a donation in support of upgrading facilities, purchasing new equipment and improving the quality of care at Richmond Hospital, please contact Richmond Hospital Foundation at 604244-5252 or visit our website at www.richmondhospitalfoundation.com.
- Richmond Hospital Foundation