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VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System

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VANEOHS Recognized as a Leader in Geriatric Care

Doctor holding a patient's hand

A doctor holding a patient's hand.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Geriatric Emergency Department Collaborative (GEDC) selected the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center to be its first VA partner institution, helping to drive the future of aging-friendly emergency care.

As the nation prepares to care for its rapidly expanding older population, VA is uniquely positioned to share its experiences and lessons learned from treating the WWII Veteran population with the private sector. VA’s comprehensive approach to care focuses on health promotion and disease prevention, allowing aging Veterans to stay healthier longer and honor their wishes as they grow older. 

 “Too often geriatric patients are seen and treated in the emergency room without assessing overall frailty and caregiver needs.  The ED visit presents an opportunity identify functional decline and enact home and community interventions to change the overall trajectory older adults’ wellbeing.  We at the Cleveland VA realized this 2 years ago and began to develop our GERI-VET program to enhance care for Veterans who present to the emergency department,” said Dr. Jill Huded from the Cleveland VA Medical Center.  “This program looks at the physical, psychological, and social factors that impact the older Veterans’ overall health, and works collaboratively to ensure proper measures are in place to treat all Veteran and caregiver needs upon discharge from the ED.”

The GEDC is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Gary and Mary West Health Institute. It will build upon decades of research, clinical enhancement programs and educational initiatives to improve the care of older adults in U.S. emergency departments.   

“As members of this collaborative, VA looks forward to sharing the experiences in treating older adults that we’ve gained through years of research, education and practice. We look forward to improving geriatric emergency care for not only Veterans but all Americans,” said Susan M. Fuehrer, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System Director / CEO.    

According to the AGS, older adults are more likely to use the emergency department than any other age group with nearly one emergency department visit for every two older Americans. Older adults are also at an increased risk for serious complications in the emergency department compared to younger counterparts.   Forty percent of all VA ED visits are for veterans 65 years and older, compared to 15% in the private sector.

GEDC is an innovative collaboration that brings together a growing number of hospitals and health systems, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).

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