Level 2 Age Friendly Health System and GE Accreditation Awards

Laguna Hills, Calif. – Jan. 11, 2023  – MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center has been nationally recognized as one of 389 accredited Geriatric Emergency Departments and named one of 866 Level 2 Age-Friendly Health Systems by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Over 2700 hospitals are reviewed to receive these recognitions, and those that receive them are proven to be leaders in providing senior-friendly emergency care.

It is an honor to be a nationally accredited Geriatric Emergency Department because it shows our commitment to providing quality, age-friendly care to our senior patients. At MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center, our goal is to provide superior care to all ages to help patients get back to full health and stay healthy.

Brandi Cassingham, RN, chief nursing officer, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center

Today, the older demographic is rapidly rising, with an estimated 10,000 people turning 65 every day. This rapid growth directly affects the healthcare industry since 80% of older adults have at least one chronic illness and need to visit the hospital frequently.

The Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation is granted to healthcare institutions that meet rigorous standards such as having doctors and nurses with at least four hours of geriatric focused education, providing seniors with mobility aids, and providing seniors with easy access to food and drink 24/7. In addition to these criteria, healthcare institutions must provide evidence of a geriatric-focused emergency care initiative that caters toward the unique needs of senior patients.

In addition, Saddleback Medical Center was named an Age-Friendly Health System by IHI. Age-Friendly Health Systems are defined as healthcare institutions that follow an essential set of evidence-based practices, cause no harm, and align with what matters to seniors and their families.

The IHI discovered that healthcare systems have overlooked the care of older adults and decided to encourage healthcare institutions to improve their processes to provide seniors with the level of care they deserve. Healthcare institutions that follow the IHI’s guidelines have been proven to have helped improve the safety and quality of life of older patients.

To be named an Age-Friendly Health System, healthcare institutions must adhere to IHI’s “4Ms:” What Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility. All four of these approaches help institutions to monitor the health of seniors accurately and effectively.

The IHI discovered medical institutions that adhere to the 4Ms framework see an improvement in older patients’ safety and quality of life within a three-month period. Saddleback Medical Center went the extra mile and reported over 10 months’ worth of evidence to demonstrate its commitment to the 4Ms framework to receive Level 2 recognition.

Being named an Age-Friendly Health System means that everyone in the organization, from those that clean the rooms to those that provide care, understands and accommodates the special needs of older patients.   Those granted the Level 2 recognitions are celebrated for their commitment to care excellence by providing three or more months of data of older adults who received care under IHI’s 4Ms.

Don Berwick, M.D., MPP, president emeritus, Institute for Healthcare Improvement