News & Events

Emergency department receives highest-level accreditation for care of older adults

01/25/2019

Tufts Medical Center announced today that its Emergency Department (ED) has received Level 1 Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), recognizing the highest level of excellence in care for older adults. Fewer than 10 U.S. centers have achieved Level 1 Geriatric ED status; Tufts MC is the first hospital in New England to receive this honor. 

“This highest-possible certification level affirms that our ED possesses the designated processes, infrastructure and institutional commitment to provide optimal care to geriatric patients,” said Brien Barnewolt, MD, Chairman and Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. “Our physicians and nurses have undergone specific, additional training for the care of this high risk population, we have ensured that age-appropriate resources are in place and we have instituted a rigorous ongoing quality program. It really is a comprehensive, collaborative, multidisciplinary effort throughout the ED and across the entire Tufts MC organization to dedicate the time, resources and personnel needed to deliver state-of-the-art emergency care to this vulnerable patient population.” 

To achieve Level 1 GEDA accreditation, Tufts MC ED clinicians and administrators were required to meet more than two dozen highly specific criteria, goals and best practices for the delivery of elite geriatric care. These include providing geriatric education, supplying geriatric-friendly equipment and supplies, recruiting specialized staff and offering routine screenings for delirium, dementia and fall risk. All of these measures demonstrate that the ED adheres to the highest standards of care for older adults. The level of GEDA accreditation earned is ultimately determined by the number of geriatric best practices an ED satisfies.  

“The geriatric population is both the fastest-growing group of patients utilizing emergency services and one of the most vulnerable patient populations requiring significant medical resources,” said Franklin Friedman, MD, MS, FACEP, the new Director of the Geriatric Emergency Department at Tufts Medical Center. “We have created an organized, integrated system that caters to the very specific medical, emotional and social needs of geriatric patients, and now provide them with a level of care, service and experience that can’t be found anywhere else in New England.”

Achieving Level I Geriatric Emergency Department accreditation required countless hours of preparation from ED leadership and staff in close collaboration with interdisciplinary teams across the Medical Center, including hospital administration, the Departments of Pharmacy, Case Management, Social Work Services and Information Services, and the Divisions of Geriatrics, Palliative Care, Internal Medicine and Adult Primary Care and Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, among many others.

“This is a unique patient population, with unique pathology and physiology and unique care and social requirements,” said Gina Wakelin, RN, Emergency Department Professional Development Director at Tufts Medical Center. “We are committed to providing the families of our geriatric patients with detailed and specific care plans when they are discharged from our Geriatric ED. All too often in America today, geriatric patients are sent home after receiving emergency care, with their families left wondering about the next steps. We aim to fix that process.”

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About Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children

Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional, not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and Floating Hospital for Children. Conveniently located in downtown Boston, the Medical Center is the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. The Medical Center features a level one trauma center with rooftop helipad, the largest heart transplant center in New England and a renowned research program, ranking among the top 10 percent of independent hospitals to receive federal research funding. A physician network of 1,800 New England Quality Care Alliance doctors represents our strong commitment to health in the community. Tufts Medical Center is a founding member of Wellforce. For more information, visit www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org.


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