Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit at UC San Diego Health
Model of Excellence and Supporting Research
While it is well known that the senior population in the U.S. is growing rapidly, the impact on the broader healthcare system and specifically the emergency department (ED) has received less attention. Although seniors comprise a small portion of all ED visits (16 percent), they make up 43 percent of all hospitalizations originating in the ED.
In addition, the U.S. Census projections, estimate the number of seniors will nearly double by 2050, making the role of the ED increasingly important. This large demographic shift provides an opportunity to the way seniors are served in emergency settings through specialized care protocols and services.
The West Health Institute and West Health Policy Center are working together to address this unique opportunity through an exciting collaboration with UC San Diego Health, a leading academic health system. San Diego County had more than 374,000 seniors in 2012, however, that number is expected to double to 724,000 by 2030, according to a recent San Diego County Senior Health Report.
As baby boomers age, projections show an increase in ED visits and subsequent hospitalizations
Hover over the dates above to see projected senior ED visits and admission rates. In 2012, seniors accounted for 16% of ED visits and 44% percent or 8.2 million hospitalizations from the ED. By 2030, projections show seniors will account for 24% of ED visits and 56% or 14.1 million hospitalizations from the ED, highlighting the need for innovative alternatives to address the healthcare needs of the growing senior population.
Source: West Health Institute analysis of 2012 data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Enhancing Emergency Care for Seniors
• Gary and Mary West have provided $11.8 million to the University of California San Diego Health to create a state-of-the-art senior emergency care unit to be housed within the emergency department at UC San Diego Health La Jolla.
• The Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit will enhance care for older adults and enable a multi-year medical research initiative in partnership with the West Health Institute to support their mission of making successful aging a reality for seniors in San Diego and throughout the nation.
• In recognition of the West’s support, the broader emergency department will also be named the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health.
• Later this year, the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla will offer enhanced emergency services designed to meet the unique needs of seniors including acute care screening, urgent care, case management, social and psychiatric care, as well as facilitate home- and community-based care options when possible.
• In 2018, UC San Diego Health will add 8,500 sq. ft. of dedicated space to create the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit, which will serve as a clinical, research and training hub, becoming a leading site for medical education and workforce training to advance senior care.
• Design and launch a comprehensive senior emergency department at UC San Diego Health
• Deliver a range of clinical services that meet the unique needs of seniors
• Serve as a hub for geriatric training and education
• Conduct multi-year medical research for developing, evaluating and disseminating innovative care approaches for geriatric patients
• Dissemination of knowledge regionally and nationally through targeted research
APPLIED MEDICAL RESEARCH AREAS OF FOCUS
• Identifying best practices in senior emergency care
• Advancing transitions in care
• Building the evidence for geriatric emergency care protocols
• Connecting clinical and social resources to provide community- and home-centered care
• Addressing the training needs of a multidisciplinary workforce for senior care