HOUSTON (May 06, 2010)

In 2009, 17 percent of individuals living in Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital's primary service area were 55 and older. The projected five-year growth rate of this age group is 34 percent. To better serve this growing population, Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital recently opened three new hospital units dedicated to seniors, including Texas' first Senior Emergency Center.

"We recognize that our senior patients are unique and we want to provide specialized services for them," said George Gaston, CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest. "Our three new units - the Senior Emergency Center, Senior Medicine Unit and Senior Behavioral Care Unit - are staffed by specially trained caregivers who are passionate about catering to our senior patients in an environment designed just for them."

Memorial Hermann Southwest's new Senior Emergency Center accommodates patients 55 years and older. Located on the first floor near the existing Emergency Center, the Senior Emergency Center is a separate facility with a private waiting room for senior patients, family and caregivers. Patients also benefit from larger patient rooms with amenities such as thicker mattresses, new furniture and enlarged wall clocks.

For senior patients who have an acute condition requiring hospitalization, Memorial Hermann Southwest now offers a Senior Medicine Unit. Patients 55 and older who experience diagnoses such as acute pain, congestive heart failure, diabetic issues, pneumonia and urinary tract infections can be admitted to this unit located on two newly-renovated wings on the sixth floor of the hospital. Features include:

  • Low patient-to-nurse ratios
  • Dedicated nurse practitioner
  • Spacious, private rooms
  • Environmental modifications to promote independence, such as adjustable beds and phones and clocks with larger numbers
  • Library and lounge for family and caregiver use

Seniors with both behavioral and medical needs can be treated on the hospital's Senior Behavioral Care Unit. A multidisciplinary team of doctors, social workers, nurses, recreational and occupational therapists and personal care aides are available 24/7 and offer a holistic approach to meet the needs of these patients. Located on the 8th floor of the hospital, the newly-renovated and secure environment provides:

  • Comfortable, private hospital beds and private bathroom facilities
  • State-of-the-art equipment and increased security for protection of behavioral care patients
  • Scheduled groups and therapies necessary for the improvement of mental health issues

Admission criteria for the unit requires that a patient be 65 years and older, diagnosed with a principal psychiatric condition, have the cognitive ability to benefit from treatment with expectation for improved symptoms or behavior, and capable to attend group sessions.