San Diego: 1st county in U.S. to have all hospital ERs accredited as Geriatric Emergency Departments

More than 20 million seniors visit our nation’s emergency departments every year. With the number of older adults growing rapidly, there is a critical need for more geriatric-focused care, which has the potential to improve health outcomes, coordinate care more effectively, and reduce costs.

San Diego County is now the first county in the nation where every one of its eligible hospitals have an accredited Geriatric Emergency Department (GED). This was accomplished through a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership involving West Health, the County of San Diego, the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the region’s major health care and hospital systems, and local officials.


  • GEDs create a senior-friendly environment and culture of care tailored to the specific needs of seniors, who may have dementia or other cognitive decline and/or physical conditions that make it more difficult to navigate the emergency room.
  • Hospitals with GEDs may either have a separate emergency room space designated for older adults, or have integrated best practices for older adults into an existing emergency department.
  • GED accreditation signifies that an institution has adopted specific care and discharge protocols for older patients, and has made the necessary investments in staff training, equipment and their emergency department’s physical environment to ensure a high level of care to older adults.
  • This milestone has the potential to improve the health outcomes and lives of all our region’s residents.
  • San Diego has become a beacon for policymakers dedicated to successful aging in America, thanks to a combination of the county’s Aging Roadmap, California’s Master Plan for Aging and now our countywide GED accreditation.

San Diego County is home to a large population of people age 60 and older and that demographic is projected to continue growing over the next decade.

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