Good news: New Yorkers are living longer. Life expectancy for city residents now exceeds 78 years. But longevity presents challenges. That's why Metropolitan Hospital Center has designed the new Centers for Geriatric Care to respond to the special medical and social needs of the growing older population of adults.
The new specialty center offers comprehensive outpatient and inpatient services to adults over the age of 65 in a modern, accessible setting. An interdisciplinary team of experts, including physicians, nurses, and social workers, are trained to assess and treat many of the common medical conditions among the elderly, including diabetes, heart disease, depression, memory disorders, and chronic pain.
"The unprecedented trend in population aging has profound effects on the delivery and use of healthcare services. We want to be innovative in our response to the needs of the population. Our goal is not just to lengthen life, but also to improve the quality of life of our patients and their families," says Executive Director Meryl Weinberg.
The Outpatient Center offers "one-stop" patient services with easy access to the onsite pharmacy and transportation services. Wheelchair accessible exam rooms have motorized tables and extra space to accommodate caregivers who often accompany elderly patients. Metropolitan projects the center will see more than 16,000 outpatient visits this year.
"Although hospitals are filled with elderly patients, they are not necessarily designed to effectively manage their care," according to Shobhana Chaudhari, MD, Metropolitan's Chief of Geriatrics. "The elderly require specialized and personalized care which requires time and attention. What we have built here is a medical home where we care for their physical well-being while insuring they receive the social and support services they need such as home health care or meals delivered at home."
The new 15-bed inpatient unit has views of the East River and features beds that are specially designed to provide maximum skin safety and comfort and prevent bed sores, a high risk condition for older patients who experience changes in skin integrity with age. The beds have a high tech surface that redistributes pressure through air cushions and protects the most sensitive areas for development of pressure ulcers. The staff develops comprehensive multi-disciplinary care plans for each patient with special attention to preventing falls, medication safety and discharge planning to ensure that patients have the most appropriate and safe living arrangements.
"Elderly patients require patience," says Dr. Chaudhari. "You need to carefully listen to what they are communicating. They are often overwhelmed and frightened. They forget to take their medications. They don't always eat properly. That's why we have to look at the whole patient and their condition, in order to provide the personalized care they need to improve their health and quality of life."
The Metropolitan Hospital Outpatient Center for Geriatric Care is located on the first floor of the hospital near the Second Avenue Entrance in Suite 1D7. Walk-ins or appointments are welcome by calling 646-672-3558.