Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Goleta departments get Silver Level 2 accreditation

Staff Report

The emergency departments at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital have achieved the Silver Level 2 Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

The GEDA program recognizes emergency departments that provide excellent care for older adults, defined as age 65 and up. The voluntary designation, valid for three years, acknowledges that all three Cottage emergency departments have successfully met or exceeded specific criteria and benchmarks for providing outstanding care to older patients.

Approximately one out of three patients visiting a Cottage emergency department is age 65 and up. In addition to common reasons to visit the emergency department, older adults frequently need emergency care for issues such as falling, confusion, weakness or problems with their medications, according to Dr. Patrick Glynn, who specializes in emergency medicine at Cottage Health.

“An emergency department visit for an older patient often brings about significant life changes that require attention beyond treating the illness or injury,” Dr. Glynn said. “Our emergency team considers a patient’s physical, mental and social needs to provide the highest standards of care. ACEP’s GEDA program recognizes that our policies are directed at the evolving needs of our geriatric patients, to keep them comfortable and safe.”

The Silver Level 2 designation means Cottage provides expertise in geriatric care, has geriatric-friendly equipment and supplies, and screens for vulnerabilities such as delirium, dementia and fall risk. Cottage emergency staff also help with resources needed to assure geriatric patients are able to return home safely or transition to different levels or locations of assisted care.

A team of physicians, nurses, emergency department technicians, social workers and community emergency medical services personnel worked for over two years to create and perfect protocols and policies to develop the Geriatric Emergency Department program.