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By José Eli Villanueva, County of San Diego Communications Office

August 17, 2022 (San Diego) - Officials from the County’s Health and Human Services Agency, local hospitals and healthcare agencies gathered Thursday to celebrate the county becoming the first in the nation to earn a regionwide “senior-friendly” emergency department accreditation for all 18 of its hospitals.

The geriatric emergency department accreditation means that emergency room visits will be more effective and less stressful for local seniors. Elderly patients make nearly one-third of all local emergency room visits. The geriatric emergency departments are designed to treat and care for seniors and the unique medical complications they may present when they come to emergency rooms. Those include frailty and mobility issues, dementias and the use of multiple medications for chronic medical conditions.

The ERs also feature staff trained and dedicated to emergency care for older adults including nurses, case managers and social workers. The accreditation means 100% of seniors in the county will have access to senior-friendly emergency room care. Officials said only about 15% of seniors have that access nationwide.
The regional geriatric emergency department accreditation effort was part of the San Diego Senior Emergency Care Initiative, a first-of-its kind public-private partnership spearheaded by the County of San Diego and West Health at the end of 2019 as part of the County’s inaugural Aging Roadmap.

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good news for seniors

would help more if the hospitals were listed as an internet search turning up different numbers.

Glad to see senior-friendly help in hospitals.

When Mom had a fall and had to be hospitalized during COVID, with severe dementia, it was a terrifying experience for her  This happened more than once and we saw a big contrast between hospitals in how seniors were treated.  A senior with dementia who is a high fall risk needs a sitter or someone to keep a close eye on them for their protection and also need to be treated with compassion and dignity.

Kudos to the County for recognizing this and doing something about it.