Geriatrics Emergency Department Collaborative

Supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Gary and Mary West Health Institute and managed in its initial planning stages by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), the GEDC is an innovative collaboration on the future of geriatric emergency care. It brings together a growing number of hospitals and health systems, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the AGS, the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM). The initiative builds upon decades of research, clinical enhancement programs, and educational initiatives led by all four of these national organizations to improve the care of older adults in U.S. EDs. The GEDC project is led by co-Principal Investigators Ula Hwang, MD, MPH, and Kevin Biese, MD, MAT.

Why Emergency Departments?

Older adults account for more than 20 million of 136 million annual emergency department (ED) visits across the U.S. Of the 46 million older adults living in the U.S. today, nearly half can expect to visit the ED at least once in a given year. Those older adults who do visit the ED face considerably higher risks than younger people for serious complications.

Geriatric EDs began appearing in the U.S. in 2008, and today there are more than 100 geriatric EDs nationwide. Still, geriatric ED care remains under-researched and hasn’t been standardized to a core set of practices and recommendations—two critical needs for future progress.

What Will the GEDC Do?

Our two-year foundational grant includes implementation, evidence-building, and plans to engage the nine healthcare systems identified and lay the foundation for long-term sustainability and national expansion of the GEDC.

Specifically, the Collaborative will:

  • Build the evidence-base and data infrastructure equip to demonstrate on an ongoing basis that best practice guidelines can improve health outcomes and lower care costs; and
  • Develop ED conferences and a series of ED “boot camps” (multi-day interdisciplinary training programs) to ensure that guideline-based care can move from theory to practice to support older adults and caregivers long-term.

Who is Involved in the GEDC?

This effort to further enhance ED care for older adults will bring together experts from the AGS, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), and a growing number of hospitals and health systems.

In 2014, the AGS, ACEP, ENA, and SAEM jointly endorsed the Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines, a standardized set of recommendations. The Guidelines, along with a boot camp pilot that was awarded to ACEP and SAEM through the AGS Geriatrics-for-Specialists Initiative (GSI)’s small grants programs, helped lay the foundation for the GEDC. The four organizations will once again work together to further enhance ED care for older adults, eventually forming the Geriatric Emergency Care Alliance (GECA).  In addition to the four organizations, the GECA will also include members from the Geriatric Emergency Medicine Advisory Council, a group of diverse healthcare professionals, executives, and staff invited to join the Council and provide insight and feedback.

Our nine healthcare system partners are listed below.

  • Aurora Health Care System
  • Emory University/Grady Memorial Hospital
  • Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC
  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Northwestern University
  • St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • University of North Carolina