Geriatric patients at Northwest receive special care through the GEM (Geriatrics Evaluation and Management) Unit, an acute care unit dedicated to assessing, diagnosing and caring for senior patients and discharging them with improved functions and fewer medications. The Northwest GEM unit is the only unit of its kind in the area overseen by a fellowship-trained geriatrician.
Benefits of the GEM Unit
Research supports that older patients treated in GEM units improve in function, have shorter lengths of stay in the hospital, leave the hospital taking one less drug and generally have better outcomes following the hospital stay.
Patients 75 and older who require comprehensive evaluation and management of their health problem, including complex medical, functional or psychosocial problems, may be treated in the unit. Within the 20-bed unit with private rooms and baths, all furnishings, equipment, dietary needs, medications and supplies are designed with the geriatric patient in mind. Special touches such as full-page magnifiers, large print menus, large clock faces and large telephone keypads are all part of the environment. Staff work closely with family to coordinate care and arrange hospice intervention if and when needed.
Specializing in Seniors
Upon admission, patients receive a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation, including pain assessment and depression screening. GEM unit staff are experienced at assessing the multiple chronic problems that older individuals may be experiencing, including nutritional and vitamin deficiency issues, as well as current treatments. Staff share a strong knowledge base of medications and therapies to be avoided in the older population. Any change in status is examined thoroughly for root causes, including medication, urinary track infections or other possible infections.
Conditions Treated in the GEM Unit
- Cardiovascular conditions (hypertension, vascular disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
- Endocrine disorders (thyroid disease)
- Gastrointestinal conditions (bowel obstruction, gastritis)
- Hematology conditions (acute anemia, cancer)
- Neurologic conditions (stroke, Parkinson’s disease, spinal disorders, multiple sclerosis)
- Orthopedic conditions (fractures)
- Problems associated with falling
- Respiratory conditions (COPD, pneumonia, pulmonary embolus)
- Rheumatology conditions (arthritis)
- Urologic conditions (urinary infections, renal failure, urinary incontinence)
How to Get to the Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit at Northwest Hospital