Is This ED Patient a Victim of Elder Abuse?

Elder AbuseThe emergency department is one of the best places to determine whether elderly patients are victims of physical or emotional abuse, and a program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center could provide a template for hospitals around the country. The Vulnerable Elder Protection Team, launched in April, teaches ED staff to be alert for possible signs of abuse, according to a report by Barbara Sadick in Kaiser Health News. The team of physicians and social workers are on call to handle suspected cases. A VEPT doctor examines the patient for specific injuries, and if abuse is found, a patient may be admitted rather than sent back into harm’s way. That allows time for Adult Protective Services to be notified and meet with the patient upon discharge. A patient who refuses to be admitted is examined by a psychiatrist to determine whether he or she is capable making decisions. If capable, VEPT has no choice but to release the individual.

Stories from the Homeless-Front

Housing the HomelessIn The Mercury News, Nuriel Moghavem, M.D., makes the case for providing affordable housing to more people in need. Moghavem, a resident physician at Santa Clara Medical Center in California, spent two weeks working in the organization’s Homeless Healthcare Program, caring for homeless youth, farm workers, people recently released from prison and others. The experience proved eye-opening: “Several of my homeless diabetic patients couldn’t refrigerate their insulin. One was nearly knifed in her tent at night. One had been riding a wheelchair with no tires for over a year, the wheel ground down to flat plastic about to snap.” Although no one is required to provide health care to the homeless, hospitals across the nation have made it part of their mission. He notes that “The Homeless Healthcare Program employs psychologists, pharmacists, nurses, community health workers, social workers, case managers and more who work in concert to address a single patient’s care.” Hospitals & Health Networks has spotlighted health systems that are working with other organizations to create affordable housing and build a culture of health for everyone in their communities.

Only on the Boob Tube

Doctors on TVIf you work at an actual medical facility, you’ll get a chuckle out of Leah Samuel’s article in Stat, “6 Things That Happen at TV Hospitals that Don’t Happen in Real Life.” One of those things is the word ‘stat,” itself, an admonition employed much more frequently by actors than real-life health care professionals.