Concepts in Practice: Geriatric Emergency Departments

Lauren T. Southerland, Alexander X. Lo, Kevin Biese, Glenn Arendts, Jay Banerjee, Ula Hwang, Scott Dresden, Vivian Argento, Maura Kennedy, Christina L. Shenvi, Christopher R. Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


In 2018, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) began accrediting facilities as “geriatric emergency departments” (EDs) according to adherence to the multiorganizational guidelines published in 2014. The guidelines were developed to help every ED improve its care of older adults. The geriatric ED guideline recommendations span the care continuum from out-of-hospital care, ED staffing, protocols, infrastructure, and transitions to outpatient care. Hospitals interested in making their EDs more geriatric friendly thus face the challenge of adopting, adapting, and implementing extensive guideline recommendations in a cost-effective manner and within the capabilities of their facilities and staff. Because all innovation is at heart local and must function within the constraints of local resources, different hospital systems have developed implementation processes for the geriatric ED guidelines according to their differing institutional capabilities and resources. This article describes 4 geriatric ED models of care to provide practical examples and guidance for institutions considering developing geriatric EDs: a geriatric ED–specific unit, geriatrics practitioner models, geriatric champions, and geriatric-focused observation units. The advantages and limitations of each model are compared and examples of specific institutions and their operational metrics are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


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