[This paper is a commentary on An Elder-Friendly Hospital: Translating a Dream into Reality by Belinda Parke and Penny Brand.]
From Plato in classical times to the modern medicine of today, clients and their caregivers have described more healing in clients and greater satisfaction in caregivers when client-centred care is the focus of both (Daly 1993). The innovative interdisciplinary approach in creating an elder-friendly hospital (EFH) described in Parke and Brand's paper not only places the elderly client in the centre of care, but calls us to think gerontologically as clinicians and hospital administrators. Perhaps a radical concept to many professionals in acute care, this attitude needs to become embedded as a moral imperative for all healthcare organizations caring for elder persons today. To think gerontologically, as Parke and Brand have noted, calls for new questions to be asked, along with a new approach to hospital care, which can transpire only with a shift in philosophy, and ultimately a shift in healthcare culture. This proactive program addresses the salient issues in the elderly from a number of perspectives - including honouring the voices of the elder clients themselves as well as the broader community of stakeholders external to the organization.
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