UC San Diego’s Geriatric Emergency Room has received a Level 1 designation, the highest and most comprehensive level of accreditation awarded by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). Located on the La Jolla campus, it is California’s first geriatric emergency room. It is one of eight geriatric ERs in the U.S. to earn accreditation.
(Image courtesy of Tony Webster via Wikimedia)
Philanthropists Gary and Mary West provided $11.8 million to create a Geriatric Emergency Department at UC San Diego .
Through their foundation, philanthropists Gary and Mary West provided an $11.8 million grant to the university to create the state-of-the-art emergency department at the Jacobs Medical Center where specialized care to senior citizens has been offered since the hospital opened in 2016. The funding will enable the university to offer senior-specific exam rooms with observation bays as well as enable research initiatives between UC San Diego Health and the West Health Institute to identify, evaluate and share best practice procedures in emergency care.
ACEP accreditation requirements include: hiring physicians and nurses with specialized geriatric training; specific environmental criteria (patient access to mobility aids); and the development of a geriatric quality improvement program.
“Every day, more and more baby boomers turn 65, making seniors one of the largest populations of patients impacting the health care system,” stated Dr. Ted Chan, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine in a UC San Diego Newsroom report. “We’re excited that our dedication to this population has been recognized and look forward to many more years of building the best geriatric emergency department of California.”
Dr. Vaishal Tolia, medical director of the emergency department, attributes the hospital’s success in caring for seniors to their comprehensive team-based approach. In addition to nurses and physicians trained in geriatric medicine, the care team includes pharmacists and social workers collaborating to lower hospital admissions and ensure that patients can safely return to their homes.
More than 30 years ago, Gary and Mary West founded West Corporation, a successful technology-driven communications company in Omaha, Nebraska. After they retired in 2006, the couple turned their energy to helping low-income seniors successfully age in place with dignity, independence and a better quality of life. Three years later, they created the nonprofit West Health Institute, which conducts research as well as advocates for better healthcare for seniors.
The foundation has awarded more than 495 grants totaling more than $198 million, including the creation of the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center and the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center in San Diego.
Financial support for the university’s geriatric emergency department was also provided by the John A. Hartford Foundation, a private, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of senior citizens.
In addition to the geriatric emergency department, UC San Diego’s Health Emergency Services in La Jolla include the Comprehensive Heart Center, Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, Labor & Delivery, Level III NICU. The hospital is staffed by board-certified emergency medical physicals trained in one or more specialties. Services are available 24 hours a day.
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