Covenant HealthCare ER Achieves Senior Accreditation

Second Hospital in the State, Only in the Region

Covenant HealthCare added the Great Lakes Bay Region’s first Senior Emergency Care Center in 2017 with the senior population in mind. The Covenant medical team wanted to take this one step further, applying for Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation (GEDA) from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in 2018.

Last week, the ACEP announced the Covenant Emergency Care Center achieved the Bronze Standard – Level 3 GEDA Accreditation. Covenant is the second hospital in the state of Michigan to obtain this accreditation, and the only hospital in the region.

In a letter to Covenant President/CEO, Ed Bruff, the ACEP states, “Led by a remarkable team of inter-disciplinary leaders including Risty Kalivas, DO, and Jessica Dematio, BSN, CEN, Covenant Medical Center’s accreditation signals to the public that your institution is focused on the highest standards of care for your communities’ older adults.”

“I’m incredibly proud of our team and their efforts to put our patients first every day,” says Patrice Lanczak, BSN, MSN, MHA, RN, Director of Emergency, Trauma, and Stroke Services. “This validates the work we do to provide extraordinary care to every generation.”

The GEDA program is the culmination of years of progress in emergency care of older adults. In 2014, ACEP along with Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Emergency Nurses Association, and American Geriatrics Society, developed and released geriatric ED guidelines, recommending measures ranging from adding geriatric-friendly equipment to specialized staff to more routine screening for delirium, dementia, and fall risk, among other vulnerabilities.

The voluntary GEDA program, which includes three levels similar to trauma center designations, provides specific criteria and goals for emergency clinicians and administrators to target. The accreditation process provides more than two dozen best practices for geriatric care and the level of GEDA accreditation achieved depends upon how many of these best practices an emergency department is able to meet. A Level 3 emergency department must incorporate many of these best practices, along with providing inter-disciplinary geriatric education, and having geriatric appropriate equipment and supplies available

Approximately 18 of the Covenant Emergency Care Center’s 65 beds have been designated for elderly patients. In designing an emergency center to meet the distinct needs of older patients, physicians, nurses, and hospital leaders included best practices such as:

- Board-certified emergency doctors, nurses and residents with specialized training in the care of senior patients. Seniors not only feel comfortable, but also understood.

- Senior-friendly rooms keep patients comfortable while social work support, assessments and goals maximize independence.

- All medications are closely monitored to avoid interactions, and more.

Physicians and hospital leaders believe that providing specialized patient centric care to the elderly can reduce readmissions and improve patient satisfaction.

As physician administrator of the Covenant Senior Care, Dr. Risty Kalivas adds that senior emergency rooms can be the saving grace for many elderly patients who need specialized treatment. “This can improve outcomes and quality of life while reducing errors and costs,” he said. “The goal is to better serve this portion of our community and continue a tradition of providing extraordinary care for every generation.”

The population of seniors in the United States has been growing steadily since 2011, which is the year the first Baby Boomers turned 65. Today individuals 65 and older represent 16.7 percent of Michigan’s population. By 2030 experts estimate that number will swell.

Locally, the Covenant Emergency Care Center logged close to 94,000 patient visits in 2018. Of those patients:

- 22,235 patients were older than age 65 (24 percent of the hospitals annual ECC visits).

- Around 4,100 were age 85 to 94.

- 514 patients were older than age 95.

About the Covenant Emergency Care Center

Covenant HealthCare is the most preferred hospital for emergency care, offering:

- The only Level II Trauma Center verified by the American Academy of Surgeons for both adult and pediatric trauma care

- The region’s only specialized Pediatric Emergency Care Center and Senior Emergency Care Center in the region

- Only board-certified emergency physicians and trauma surgeons

- More nurses with greater specialty training

- Extraordinary compassion and service that has put Covenant in the top 10% for patient satisfaction among hospital emergency departments nationwide

- The most comprehensive emergency department, caring for more patients than any other emergency department in our twenty-county service area

- Diagnostic equipment within the department

- 65 private patient rooms

- Free valet parking

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