UC San Diego Health opens California's 1st accredited ER for seniors

UC San Diego Health opened California's first accredited emergency room for seniors, the health system said Jan. 10.

Four things to know:

1. The Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla will provide specialized treatment to qualifying patients over the age of 65.

2. The 11-room geriatric ED features lighting and acoustics best suited for senior patients, including sound-absorbing walls and ceilings. It also has contrasting colors between walls and floors, and between toilets, chair seats and floors, to curb patients' fall risk and improve mobility. 

3. "Although we have been delivering specialized senior emergency care for more than two years, the new physical space allows older adults to be cared for in an environment that better meets their needs than a traditional emergency room setting," Vaishal Tolia, MD, chair of the department of emergency medicine at UC San Diego Health, said in a news release. "Our goal with the SECU is to lower hospital admissions and readmissions in this patient population."

4. The department was funded in part by an $11.8 million grant. The American College of Emergency Physicians designated the department a level 1 accreditation, its highest and most comprehensive level.

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