Emergency departments are the front-porch of our healthcare system, where 1 in 5 patients are seniors who frequently have multiple health and social challenges and unique needs.
Early evidence from existing models of geriatric emergency care—ones that promote best clinical practices for older adults and create a more positive and sensitive physical environment, for example—shows they have the potential to improve health outcomes, better coordinate care, and reduce costs.
Improving emergency care for seniors across the United States is a key area of focus for West Health. In 2016, we launched the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit at UC San Diego Health, where care tailored to the unique needs of seniors is being delivered for the first time in California, making it a cornerstone of philanthropists Gary and Mary West’s $40 million commitment to expanding the use of senior-appropriate care in emergency departments around the country.
We are identifying best practices in senior emergency care, building the evidence for geriatric emergency care protocols, connecting clinical and social resources to provide home and community-based care and addressing the training needs of a multidisciplinary workforce to ensure seniors across the country get the care they need when they are in the emergency department.
We are expanding our research portfolio to build evidence in support of a new vision for unplanned acute care, which fundamentally drives the majority of healthcare costs for our nation’s vulnerable seniors. We envision more proactive, opportunistic care that is delivered in place, whenever possible.
Working with our collaborators at The John A. Hartford Foundation and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), we are working to increase the number of senior-friendly EDs through ACEP’s national accreditation program for geriatric emergency departments (GEDs).
There are now more than 100 GEDs around the United States boasting ACEP accreditation, which was developed with financial support and foundational work from the West Health Institute and The John A. Hartford Foundation to achieve the goal of providing quality care for older adult patients.
We recently announced a collaboration between regional healthcare systems, West Health and County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob to have a majority of San Diego’s emergency departments accredited as senior-friendly by 2021.
Healthcare leaders representing Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente San Diego, Palomar Health, Paradise Valley Hospital, Scripps Health, Sharp HealthCare, Tri-City Medical Center, UC San Diego Health and VA San Diego Healthcare System signed a pledge to join the San Diego Senior Emergency Care Initiative, a first-of-its-kind public-private commitment by local health systems—funded with $700,000 in grants and support from the County of San Diego and nonprofit West Health—to be the first in the nation to offer accredited senior-friendly emergency care for older adults across the county.
Interested in making your emergency department senior friendly? West Health created the free “Practical Guide to Implementing a Geriatric Emergency Department,” with UC San Diego Health to serve as a blueprint for other health systems to follow.
West Health will continue to be an advocate for senior-friendly emergency care across the region, leading the nation in our efforts to improve care and lower costs for seniors everywhere
Model of Excellence
The Gary and Mary West Foundation provided $11.8 million to create the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit where we’re researching outcomes and cost-effectiveness of geriatric ED care and involved in a multi-national effort in developing a data infrastructure for ongoing performance monitoring and evaluation.
We’ve partnered with The John A. Hartford Foundation in providing more than $3 million to expand senior-specific care in emergency departments (EDs) throughout the country through the creation of the Geriatric Emergency Department Collaborative (GEDC). Comprised of nine leading healthcare systems across the country, the GEDC is focused on the dissemination of best practices and building the evidence to evaluate how senior-specific care in the ED can improve the health, independence, and safety of older adults. The West Health Institute is researching the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of Geriatric ED care and developing a data infrastructure for ongoing performance monitoring and evaluation.
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has launched its new Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) program. The program is part of an effort to improve and standardize emergency care for the nation’s older patients and builds on the financial support and foundational work of the Gary and Mary West Health Institute and The John A. Hartford Foundation.
The John A. Hartford Foundation invests in aging experts and practice innovations that transform how the care of older adults is delivered. Since 1982, The John A. Hartford Foundation has awarded more than $565 million in grants to enhance the health and well-being of older people.
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health care system providing exceptional medical care to our local and global communities.
UC San Diego Health is committed to creating a healthier world – one life at a time – through new science, new medicine and new cures.
The American College of Emergency Physicians promotes the highest quality of emergency care and is the leading advocate for emergency physicians, their patients, and the public.