According to 2014 statistics from the AARP, there were 108.7 million people in America over age 50. This number is expected to grow by 19 million in the next ten years.
These older folks make up a major chunk of the country’s population – and, consequently, a significant chunk of the people who will end up patronizing your medical practice. How equipped is your medical practice to accommodate these older patients? Take a look at our quick and easy upgrade suggestions and find out if you are ready to take on this demographic.
How to Make Your Medical Practice Friendlier to Elderly Patients
1. Make accessibility and comfort a priority.
Older patients may come with problems related to mobility, vision, hearing, etc. They also get tired more easily. To fix this, opt for a more open layout with fewer furniture pieces sitting in the middle of the room that they’d have to move around. Install carpeted floors or anti-slip matting solutions to avoid slip-and-trip incidents. Pick more comfortable seating alternatives, and maybe even add some arm and leg rests. Make sure the lights are bright and not dim or moody. And make sure that your facility is easily accessible for canes, walkers, and wheelchairs, especially the restrooms and examination rooms.
2. Keep the volume at a reasonable level.
Seniors are not exactly the biggest fans of loud noises. But this does not mean you should keep your medical practice devoid of any form of noise or entertainment. Should you decide to add music or television, it is important to keep it at a reasonable volume so your patients can still relax and share conversations.
3. Maintain a mindful communication process.
Communication between patients and their physicians and caregivers forms a significant part of the overall wellness and satisfaction of your patients. Try out these tips to help you communicate with elderly patients more effectively.
4. Keep your floors safe.
Falls are some of the leading causes of accidents in people age 65 and older and curled rugs and carpets are some of their most common causes. Maintain your floors to minimize the hazards they pose to your elderly patients by making sure that the carpets and mats you use have anti-slip capacities and that they are well-maintained so they don’t curl at the edges. It is also important to make sure that your floors are clean and free of debris and moisture by routinely cleaning with proper wet and dust mops.
5. Keep the place sanitary.
Older people have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to contagious diseases. Worse, diseases that we consider basic and seasonal, like colds and the flu, can compromise seniors more severely than younger patients. That is why it is important to maintain a sanitary environment in your medical practice. Stock an abundance of hand sanitizers and hand soaps, and make sure to regularly spray doorknobs and other frequently-touched objects with disinfectants.
6. Look the part.
Patients are more receptive to medical professionals wearing uniforms. The more professionally-dressed nurses and doctors leave patients feeling more reassured and relaxed. So, it would be to your advantage and their peace of mind if your doctors, nurses, and other professionals are dressed appropriately for the job.
Make Your Medical Practice More Senior-Friendly with the Help of Unitex!
Unitex is your leading choice for all the uniform, linen, and facility materials and services you need to transform your medical practice into a more comfortable, friendlier, and more accessible place for senior patients.
Learn more about how we can help you by calling 866.864.8399 to get started!