NEW YORK, NY (July 19, 2018) – The Department of Emergency Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital is the first in New York State to be accredited as a geriatric emergency department (ED) by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). Eight emergency departments in the nation received this accreditation, which is part of a nationwide effort to improve and standardize emergency care for elderly patients. Mount Sinai received a Level 1 (Gold) designation — the highest and most comprehensive level.
"Our geriatric emergency department is leading the way in New York, and we're proud to receive this recognition from the American College of Emergency Physicians," said Andy S. Jagoda, MD, Professor and Chair in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
According to the Emergency Care Research Institute, geriatric adults (65 and older) account for up to 25 percent of all ED visits, but their needs may not be met in a general ED. In his 2018 State of the State Report, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set a goal to have 50 percent of all health systems "age-friendly" within the next five years, which would include the establishment of EDs better equipped to provide care to aging New Yorkers with cognitive and physical disabilities.
The ACEP accreditation has three levels with specific criteria, which include having physicians and nurses on staff with specialized geriatric training, ensuring appropriate environmental conditions, and implementing a geriatric quality improvement program.
"Our multidisciplinary team has social workers, case managers, physical therapists, pharmacists, physicians, and nurses who are working together and providing the best possible care to a population of patients with a multitude of needs," said Denise Nassisi, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine and Director of the Geriatric Emergency Department at The Mount Sinai Hospital.
Dr. Nassisi says current protocols for the geriatric ED include having a physical therapist screen patients for their risk of falling, a certified pharmacist review patients' medication history, and a team of physicians and nurses monitor patients for cognitive dysfunction, frailty, and other ailments unique to this patient population. A special section of the ED has modified lighting with skylights to admit sunlight during the day and dim lighting at night to promote sleep, nonskid flooring, extra handrails to help prevent falls, special mattresses that help prevent bedsores, reduced ambient noise, and curtains designed to minimize noise. Each year, more than 15,000 geriatric patients seek emergency care at The Mount Sinai Hospital, which is preparing to renovate and expand its Emergency Department.
"Mount Sinai's Geriatric Emergency Department has developed a robust program since the launch of the geriatric ED in 2012, when we became one of the first academic centers in the country to create a unit dedicated to delivering emergency care tailored to the needs of elderly patients," said Gallane Abraham, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Associate Director of the Geriatric ED at The Mount Sinai Hospital. "As the baby boomers age, we are seeing more older patients with chronic disease who are living longer and coming to emergency departments across the country, which is why it's critical to provide specialized care."
The Department of Emergency Medicine at the Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest in the country, comprising six hospital-based emergency departments, and is affiliated with Elmhurst Hospital Center, part of New York City's public health care system. The department has more than 180 faculty members and treats more than 600,000 patients annually. Its research division is ranked No. 2 in the country based on funding from the National Institutes of Health.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system encompassing seven hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians; 10 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 13 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in four other specialties in the 2017-2018 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and 50th for Ear, Nose, and Throat, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally.
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