MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center is Orange County's first hospital to receive the prestigious Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians for delivering the highest standard of care for older adults.
Opened 45 years ago adjacent to the growing Laguna Woods senior community, Saddleback Medical Center serves the healthcare needs of all ages in Orange County and provides multiple programs, preventive services and expertise tailored to seniors.
Older adults are Orange County's fastest growing age group. In 2016, Orange County adults 65 and older comprised 13.5% of the population — expected to nearly double by 2040. Seniors tend to visit emergency departments at higher rates, often with multiple chronic conditions, complex physical and social challenges, and increased risk of falls and side effects from medications.
"As an Accredited Geriatric Emergency Department, we provide best-practice, evidence-based care for our senior patients. Examples include our protocols for hip fractures, stroke and heart attacks," says Marc Taub, MD, medical director, Saddleback Medical Center Emergency Department. "Seniors and their families in our community can be assured our board-certified physicians, specially trained nurses and support staff have the necessary knowledge, technology, compassion and commitment to provide excellent patient-centered care for our valued senior patients."
Increasing age is a risk factor for many chronic conditions. Studies noting the vulnerability of older adults during and following an emergency visit or hospitalization creates opportunities to better address the needs of seniors visiting hospitals.
"With 81% of Laguna Woods residents 65 and older, this community adjacent to Saddleback Medical Center has Orange County's highest percentage of seniors," says Karen Sharp, MSN, director, emergency services. "The geriatric emergency department concept was developed by emergency medicine leaders to ensure older patients receive coordinated, quality care at the appropriate level during every emergency department encounter."
In addition to treating medical conditions, Saddleback Medical Center physicians and staff partner with social workers, rehabilitation staff, home health, primary care physicians, specialists and community organizations serving seniors. Together they develop comprehensive approaches to caring for seniors in their homes and clinical settings.
Marcia Manker, CEO, Saddleback Medical Center, notes: "We're thrilled our commitment to seniors is recognized with this highly-deserved accreditation. Our dedication to excellence includes award-winning programs in cardiology, oncology, neurosciences, orthopedics, gastroenterology, urology, women's health, surgery, geriatrics, imaging and more. Whatever your age or health needs — whether expectant parents delivering at The Women's Hospital or taking advantage of extraordinary clinical programs — we're dedicated to ensuring the best possible care for local communities."