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June 26, 2013
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate’s Community Campus opens region’s first emergency department for older adults

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— A new era in emergency care was ushered in today, as Upstate University Hospital cut the ribbon on Central New York’s first geriatric emergency department June 26. The new Geriatric Emergency Unit, called “GEM Care, the Senior ED Unit,” located on Upstate’s Community Campus at 4900 Broad Road, consists of eight beds with geriatric-specific equipment. It offers emergency care tailored to those 65 and older.

Emergency Medicine Director at Upstate University Hospital’s Community Campus Jamie Ciaccio, MD, lead the official opening of the unit with Meredith Price, chief administrative officer of the campus. The unit will welcome patients on Tuesday, July 2.

“The new GEM Care unit is the first of its kind in Central New York,” said Ciaccio. “The unit’s team of physicians and nursing staff are all specially trained in geriatrics and will be working in lockstep with pharmacists, social workers, and case managers to deliver seamless care.”

The development of GEM Care was also supported by Sharon Brangman, MD, division chief of geriatrics at Upstate Medical University and a former president of the American Geriatrics Society. “She was a resource and mentor in developing concepts, processes, directing training and philosophy for the facility,” Ciaccio said.

The unit’s mission is to care for patients with a team approach. Physicians, pharmacists, social workers and case managers will work to coordinate care with patients’ primary caregivers, in addition to outpatient services, such as visiting nurses and home health aides. This comprehensive approach to care will aid GEM Care in its goal to admit only those patients who will benefit from hospital care in an effort to keep older adults in their own homes for as long as possible.

“Many older adults decline and lose function after a hospital admission,” said Ciaccio. “GEM Care’s goal of discharging patients back to their homes, versus assisted or higher-level care, when possible, ultimately improves the patient’s quality of life and reduces heath care dollars for everyone.”

The GEM Care unit also offers patients a comfortable, calming atmosphere. The space was designed to promote safety and includes many features designed for the senior patient, including:
·       Patient beds with thicker mattresses for added comfort
·       Adjustable lighting at each bedside
·       Non-skid floors and handrails for safety
·       Large font options for medication education and discharge instructions

“The space itself is calming and will help eliminate stress and confusion for patients,” Ciaccio said. “In addition, we have a dedicated team of volunteers who will be part of the health care team who will visit with the patients, ensuring that their needs and concerns have been addressed.”

“The Community Campus is proud and excited to be opening the area’s first facility of this kind,” said Price. “The campus has grown dramatically over the past several months and this recent addition to our services exemplifies our commitment to providing exceptional care to people of all ages.”

Caption: Jaime Ciaccio, MD, director of the emergency department at Upstate’s Community Campus, with Meredith Price, chief administrative officer of the Community Campus, cuts the ribbon June 26 to open Gem Care, the first emergency department in the region designed for people over the age of 65. Gem Care is located on Upstate’s Community Campus at 4900 Broad Road in Syracuse.

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