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St. Joseph Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Centers take senior emergency care to the next level in Kansas City and Blue Springs by announcing today that they are now accredited as Geriatric Emergency Departments by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). St. Joseph Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Centers are the only institutions in the Midwest with this accreditation which recognizes both institutions are focused on the highest standards of care for our communities’ older adults.

The Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) program is the culmination of years of progress in emergency care of older adults. In 2014, ACEP along with Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Emergency Nurses Association, and American Geriatrics Society, developed and released geriatric ED guidelines, recommending measures ranging from adding geriatric-friendly equipment to specialized staff to more routine screening for delirium, dementia, and fall risk, among other vulnerabilities.

“When we looked into the criteria to become a geriatric emergency department, we quickly realized that both of our hospitals were a perfect fit,” said Anne Xenos, Director of Senior Care at both St. Joseph & St. Mary’s Medical Centers. “We have been focused on ensuring seniors have the best experience possible when coming to our hospitals, including shorter wait times when visiting our emergency department so GEDA was the logical next step.”

The voluntary GEDA program provides specific criteria and goals for emergency clinicians and administrators to target. In order to receive accreditation, an emergency department must incorporate a number of best practices for geriatric care, along with inter-disciplinary geriatric education, and have geriatric appropriate equipment and supplies available.

“The GEDA recognition is an important milestone for our Senior Care program,” said Sarah Gonzalez, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNRN, Chief Nursing Officer at St. Mary’s Medical Center. “We recognize that older adults in the emergency department tend to face more complex social and physical challenges than our younger populations. We’ve put processes and protocols in place to address those challenges. This accreditation signals to our communities that we go the extra mile to provide customized care for our patients.”

Some of the best practices embraced by the geriatric emergency departments include:

  • Ensuring geriatric-focused education and interdisciplinary staffing
  • Providing standardized approaches to care that address common geriatric issues
  • Ensuring optimal transitions of care from the ED to other settings (inpatient, home, community-based care, rehabilitation, long-term care)
  • Promoting geriatric-focused quality improvement and enhancements of the physical environment and supplies

“Senior Services have been an important focal point for our healthcare system for a number of years and becoming accredited as a geriatric emergency department is another step in that direction,” said Jodi Fincher, RN, BSN, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph Medical Center. “We are committed to being an industry leader in this space ensuring that our older patients receive well-coordinated, quality care at the appropriate level at every emergency department encounter.”

In addition to GEDA, St. Joseph and St. Mary’s Medical Centers are recent recipients of the 2018 Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award and have excelled at passing stringent audits with honors from The Joint Commission, The Leapfrog Group, the American Heart Association, Women’s Choice Award, and many more re-certifications for acute-care and specialty care services across the country.

Visit the GEDA website for accreditation criteria.