The GREAT Kit: Enhancing Geriatric Resources, Education, and Tools in the Emergency Department at Meridian Health, Ocean Medical Center, Brick, NJ

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Linda J. Hassler, RN, MS, GCNS-BC
Ann May Center, Meridian Health, Neptune, NJ

Learning Objective 1: identify common misconceptions about aging amongst Emergency Department staff.

Learning Objective 2: describe the resources, education, and tools that were implemented in the Emergency Department at Meridian Health, Ocean Medical Center, Brick, NJ

The purpose of this initiative was twofold: assess geriatric nursing knowledge of the Emergency Department (ED) staff and then implement resources, education and tools to assist staff in improving their knowledge, practice behaviors, and satisfaction with the delivery of elder care.
According the US Census Bureau, individuals aged 65 and older comprise 13% of the United States population. In Ocean County, where Ocean Medical Center is located, the number is over 20%, and elderly comprise one third of their ED admissions (over 13,000 patients). Persons aged 75 years and older now have the highest ED visit rate of any segment of the population, states the National Center for Health Statistics (2004). According to a 2003 position statement from the Emergency Nurse Association (ENA), it is essential that emergency department nurses have knowledge of changes associated with aging and possess the ability to recognize how these changes influence the health of older adults. Research conducted at The John A. Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing (2000), found that ED nurses believed they had inadequate knowledge of geriatric norms, leading to deficiencies in assessing physical and mental status of older adults in the ED.
Ninety ED staff were surveyed, with 53 responding (59% return rate), utilizing Palemore’s Fact About Aging Quiz (1998). The top five misconceptions the staff had were about aging, health and economic status, driving accident frequency, and living arrangements.  The GREAT Kit, based on survey results and evidence-based geriatric protocols, was then implemented. Some of the resources, education modules and tools will be discussed in the presentation as well as the results of the re-survey. It is hoped that upon re-survey there will be a positive change in knowledge and attitudes about aging after implementation of the GREAT Kit.