UMC is following the direction of a limited number of hospitals across the country, by designating a geriatric trauma center to serve our growing aging population.
Dr. Steven Brooks, a trauma surgeon, says this is important, because the focus is different in caring for a geriatric patient, compared to a younger patient facing the same injury.
"If an elderly patient comes in with a fall, we know statistically they have a 7% risk of dying just from that mechanism, and we know that 82% of them come in for that reason. If a patient has three rib fractures, they're at a one in five risk of not making it out of the hospital and dying. They're at a 50% risk of having pneumonia. A center that knows how to specialize and take care of these injuries appropriately has been shown to have better outcomes and these geriatric trauma patients do better."
So, instead of geriatric patients here and there, in rooms all over the hospital, this new center at UMC keeps them in the same area, on the same floor, so the nurses and doctors caring for them are focused on the special needs of that age group.
So, what age is geriatric? Dr. Brooks says don't let the number scare you. The literature says special needs come after age 60 or 65, but the geriatric trauma center recognizes that the 60's today, are not what they used to be. People today are active longer, which can still bring injuries.
The new geriatric trauma center at UMC officially opens on March 3rd.