October 23, 2019
By Holly Ramer
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is opening a geriatric emergency department, joining about 100 other hospitals around the country that have implemented similar care.
While most of the others are in urban areas, Dartmouth-Hitchcock is collaborating with group of nonprofit organizations called West Health to focus on the rural population of northern New England. Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire have the oldest median ages in the country.
Over three years, Dartmouth-Hitchcock will develop specialized areas within its emergency department in Lebanon and then use telehealth to expand to four other sites around the region.
“The fundamental issue is the fact that the emergency department is really designed to take of acute events — lacerations, cough, pneumonia, stroke. That works very well for healthy individuals who want aggressive care, however, when you start to talk about geriatric individuals, the reasons they come to the ER are quite varied,” said Dr. Daniel Stadler, the director of the hospital’s geriatrics program. “They may want aggressive treatment, or maybe their family is exhausted. They may be there for a fall, but it’s the 12th fall in the last six months.”