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Mon Health Medical Center Earns Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation, Enhances Commitment to Aging Population

Posted Date: 11/29/2021
Because the complexity of care rises with age, the Emergency Department at Mon Health Medical Center is making changes to tailor its care to better meet our aging population’s needs by implementing a Geriatric Emergency Department, and on October 4, 2021, we received the Bronze Accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

There is currently a dramatic expansion in the number of older adults with complex healthcare needs resulting in increased complications. The U.S. continues to age at an unprecedented rate, with the number of adults age 85 and over increasing the fastest. In just eight years, the number of Americans age 65 and older is expected to total 25% of the population. In West Virginia, we are already at the 20% level and rank third in the nation for residents in the 65 and older category.

A Geriatric Emergency Department (GED) isn’t a place but rather a program, with equipment, protocols, and procedures implemented by a team working together for senior-friendly care. The entire GED will include adjustments specifically designed to meet the unique needs of older patients. Examples include mobility aids, hearing assistance, visual aids, and safety features such as non-skid flooring and handrails throughout the rooms and hallways. Specially trained staff will assess older patients more comprehensively and take steps to make the experience more comfortable and less intimidating, creating a safer environment and promoting more positive outcomes.

“This achievement was made possible by the Mon Health Medical Center Auxiliary and other private donations. The close collaboration between our emergency department, geriatric, and palliative care clinicians will ensure high-quality care to older adults who need a tailored approach to meet their needs during an Emergency Department visit,” said Dr. Christopher Edwards, Director of Emergency Services at Mon Health Medical Center. “I’m extremely proud of the teamwork demonstrated by our remarkable interdisciplinary staff at our ED and their energy and commitment to enhance the care for seniors during some of their most vulnerable times.”

The Mon Health Medical Center Auxiliary has generously supported this program with a $350,000 gift. Chris Battin, Auxiliary Board President, states, “Our seniors represent one of the largest populations seeking emergency care, and we recognized the impact this program would have. We are grateful we can support the hospital in a significant way, but our ability to do so isn’t possible without our community and volunteers who have supported our fundraising efforts to make this project a reality.”

Berkshire Hathaway Energy GT&S, located in Bridgeport, West Virginia, provided additional support through their charitable outreach. Jason Harshbarger, State Policy Director, said, “BHE GT&S is pleased to support the Mon Health Medical Center Foundation’s effort to comfort and care for the geriatric population in our community. We commend the work our healthcare providers do for our neighbors, especially those most vulnerable. Our employees have supported this community for decades, and we are privileged to continue this legacy under the name BHE GT&S.” Their investment in the Geriatric Emergency Department is an investment in the livability of our community.

This specialized senior care will soon extend beyond the Emergency Department throughout the hospital and eventually the Mon Health System, ensuring continuity of care.

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