Gary and Mary West recognized very early on that the emergency department (ED) offers a unique opportunity to address the specific health care needs of seniors, providing better care and also reducing unnecessary costs.
In May 2016, the Wests provided $11.8 million to UC San Diego Health to create a state-of-the-art senior emergency care unit (SECU) within the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla. Later that year, while the SECU was being built, a specially-trained medical team began delivering enhanced emergency services to qualifying patients over 65 focusing on geriatric medicine, acute care screening, urgent care, case management, and social and psychiatric care. The team also facilitates home- and community-based care options when possible.
As a result of this specialized care, the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department received a Level 1 Gold accreditation in May 2018, the highest and most comprehensive level given to a geriatric emergency department by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). It was the first emergency department west of the Mississippi to receive this level of accreditation as part of an effort to improve the quality and standards of emergency care provided to the nation’s elderly patients. The West Health Institute continues to help lead this national initiative to formally accredit emergency departments throughout the country, certifying them for practicing at the highest standards of geriatric emergency medicine, with the goal of accrediting EDs throughout the country to better serve the needs of older adults.
In early 2019, UC San Diego Health opened the state-of-the-art Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit, an 11-bed facility located within the existing ED featuring architectural design elements for older patients, such as carefully calibrated lighting and improved acoustics, safety and comfort. Through the Institute’s collaboration with UC San Diego Health, West Health is leading the way to wider adoption of geriatric emergency departments across the nation, ultimately improving outcomes and quality of life for seniors before, during and after a medical crisis.
To download b-roll footage and photography of the SECU, please visit https://spaces.hightail.com/space/JdH2PDnjQz