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Geriatric emergency unit planned for Upstate's Community Campus

Emergency physician James Ciaccio MD.

Emergency physician James Ciaccio MD.

Senior citizens can be challenging patients. Often they have other medical conditions and/or multiple prescriptions that complicate their emergency. They may agitate or confuse easily, and they may have trouble expressing themselves.  Often, it's not long before they are back at the hospital because underlying issues weren't addressed. Not only is this inconvenient and costly, it‘s not the best medicine.

With that in mind, Upstate is creating a new Geriatric Emergency Medicine Unit called GEM Care. The unit, led by emergency physician James Ciaccio MD, will open by early summer in a dedicated section of the emergency department at Upstate University Hospital at Community. Proceeds from the 2012 Upstate Gala will help fund its development.

Details are being worked out, but GEM Care will be characterized by a calm, measured approach to care in a quiet environment. Clocks will have larger, more visible numbers. Rails will line the walls, floors will be nonskid, paint colors will be soothing, and mattresses will be thicker. Most important, staff working in the unit will be specially trained to treat patients 60+, address their unique sociological and psychological needs--and the concerns of their families--and ultimately make their emergency stay as stress-free as possible.