UC San Diego Health Opens First Senior Emergency Care Unit in California

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UC San Diego Health has opened a new emergency care facility focused on providing quality care for senior patients over the age of 65.

This new Senior Emergency Care Unit (SECU) facility, which is the first of its kind in California, is dedicated to accommodating geriatric patients who may not be adequately served in a more traditional facility.

The facility’s 11 new emergency care rooms have been designed with a variety of accommodations to improve mobility and comfort. Some of these accommodations include sound-absorbing walls and ceilings, lighting elements that are carefully adjusted to display the approximate level of natural lighting found throughout the day, and contrasting wall, floor, and toilet colors to decrease the risk of falling.

According to Ted Chan, chair of the Emergency Medicine Department at UC San Diego Health, “Senior patients face common complications, such as being at a high risk for falls and cognitive and memory problems. All patients in the SECU are treated by a team with special training in geriatric medicine, including pharmacists to manage medications and social workers to ensure a smooth transition home upon discharge.”

The new facility was financed by a grant of $11.8 million from Mary and Gary West, philanthropists with a mission to create quality healthcare for senior-aged citizens.  The new facility will make it possible for UC San Diego Health and the West Health Institute to collaborate and create innovative approaches to geriatric health care.

Other accommodations in the emergency care unit include waiting rooms equipped with sturdy and high-backed chairs to help seniors sit and stand, improved acoustics, and a nursing station which is visible to all 11 patient rooms.

Joseph Goulart is a Staff Writer for The Triton.