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Geriatric Emergency Services

Geriatric emergency patient room

UC San Diego Health's emergency department in La Jolla is home to California's first accredited geriatric emergency department. The American College of Emergency Physicians designated the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department as a Level 1 accreditation — the highest and most comprehensive level. It is part of an effort to provide superior quality of emergency care for patients age 65 and up.

Geriatric Emergency Department Care Team

All older patients who arrive at our La Jolla ER's geriatric emergency department are treated by a team with special training in geriatric medicine, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and social workers. They have special expertise in care challenges such as fall risk, cognitive and memory problems and medication interactions.

The team also tries to lower hospital admissions and re-admissions for seniors and works with patients and caregivers to ensure a smooth transition from the ER to hospital admission or home. Those who do need additional treatment may qualify for our Acute Care at Home (ACH) program, which enables you to get medical care at home instead of hospitalization. Your care team will help you decide what's right for you.

Special Features for Seniors

The geriatric emergency department at UC San Diego Health focuses on delivering high-quality senior care. It has senior-specific exam rooms and observation bays. The department also features architectural design elements specifically geared to elderly patients, including:


  • Non-slip flooring
  • Contrasting colors between walls and floors and between toilet/chair seats and floor to improve mobility and reduce falls
  • Side chairs and waiting room chairs with high backs and sturdy arms and legs to assist in sitting and standing
  • Patient toilets situated adjacent to staff work areas to better monitor patient use and needs


  • Increased light levels
  • Tunable LED lights that increase the warm light spectra to more accurately assess patients' physical conditions
  • Daylighting system in rooms to help connect patients to actual time of day


  • Sound-absorbing walls and ceilings to reduce ambient sound
  • Full height walls between all patient care areas to reduce noise levels
  • Reduced equipment with audible alarms at bedside to minimize potential anxiety
  • Sound technology to enhance clarity and resonance for patients with compromised hearing


  • Clean, clear signage and artwork to make it easy for patients to find their way around
  • No patterns in cubicle curtains or upholstery to reduce possible visual confusion
  • Paint colors conducive to the aging eye
  • Private caregiver lounge to provide place for patients' loved ones to relax close by

Take a Look Inside Our Geriatric Emergency Unit


​Contact Us

  • T: 858-657-7600


La Jolla Emergency (open 24 hours)
Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center
9434 Medical Center Drive
La Jolla CA, 92037

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