Senior services a priority at Hurley

Program to be funded at upcoming ball

FLINT — A Motown Benefit Ball will be held to benefit Hurley Medical Center’s senior services, helping the hospital meet the healthcare needs of a growing population.

Rasha Nakhleh, MD, a geriatrician at Hurley, said in the past century, there has been a truly remarkable increase in the number of people 65 and older. She said in 2014, there were 46.2 million people over age 65 living in America and currently one in seven Americans are in this age group.

“This number is expected to increase to over 20 percent of the population in 2040,” Nakhleh said.

It is important for hospitals, therefore, to understand diseases and conditions that affect seniors.

“Seniors may have chronic medical conditions, decline in function and mental ability and social and psychological stressors that affect them,” Nakhleh said. “They have visual impairment. Their hearing is not perfect. Their balance is not good, nor is their function or their memory.”

Nakhleh said seniors need special attention.

Nakhleh said the needs of a patient 65 or older admitted to the hospital with pneumonia are different from those of a patient who is 40.

So, at Hurley, nurses in every medical or surgical unit receive additional education about the specific needs of elders.

“Our seniors have done great things and they deserve all our respect and care,” Nakhleh said.

There is a no waiting policy for seniors in the emergency room at Hurley.

“They take them back immediately,” said Catherine Metz, Hurley Benefit Ball co-chair.

Metz said Hurley’s emergency department was designed with seniors in mind. Rooms have individual temperature and lighting control and beds with extra thick mattresses so seniors are comfortable receiving emergency care.

There is also an acute care for the elderly nursing unit, especially for those 65 and older. The floor in this unit is non-skid. There are large clocks on the walls to keep the patients oriented. Also, there is a strict no noise, no stimulation policy in this unit.

For patients in the intensive care or cardiac units, Hurley has a team of geriatric nurse specialists whose job is to follow older patients from the time they arrive until the time they are discharged from the hospital. These specialists work with bedside nurses to make sure concerns such as mobility, nutrition and sleep are addressed.

The hospital also features a geriatric clinic and fracture program.

“We are the obvious choice for the geriatric fracture hip patient,” said Metz.

As a level one trauma center, Hurley’s geriatric fracture center offers a planned course of treatment that encourages an optimal recovery.

Nelly Warda, a former Hurley patient, is the Hurley Benefit Ball ambassador.

“I have undergone surgery at Hurley and, as a patient, I can tell you that the care and attention I received was second to none,” she said.

Warda said having nurses with specialized training for seniors meant a great deal for someone involved in surgery and recovery.

“I have received physical therapy at Hurley as well,” Warda said. “From the moment I met the therapist until the last visit, I felt warm, appreciated and loved.”

Warda said she was thrilled and honored to be named the ball’s ambassador.

“If I can let seniors and the general public know about my success story, I feel it’s a special way I can give back,” she said.

Hurley is one of only five hospitals in Michigan to be named a NICHE (Nursing improving care for health system elders) Exemplar Hospital.

“No matter what medical needs I have in the road ahead, I feel confident Hurley will always be there for me,” Warda said.

For tickets or information about the 36th Hurley Foundation Benefit Ball, to be held on March 4, call 810-262-7005. Tickets are limited.

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