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West Grant Funds New Emergency Room for Seniors at UCSD

The Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit at UC San Diego Health exemplifies the way philanthropy can benefit San Diego’s older adults

UC San Diego Health recently celebrated the grand opening of the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit (SECU). The state-of-the-art facility, designed specifically for adults 65 and older, was made possible by an $11.8 million grant from Gary and Mary West. The gift represents an extraordinary example of how philanthropy can dramatically improve the quality of life for seniors in San Diego and beyond.

The SECU is located within the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health in La Jolla. It is the first of its kind in California, and the department is the first ER west of the Mississippi to receive a Level 1 Gold accreditation, the highest and most comprehensive level awarded to a geriatric emergency department bythe American College of Emergency Physicians.

SECU Exam Room 3The SECU boasts 11 patient rooms with a range of features specially adapted to meet seniors’ needs. Safety and comfort are paramount, thanks to sound-absorbing walls and ceilings that reduce ambient noise and an adjustable lighting system that keeps patients oriented to the actual time of day. Various architectural elements help mobility and reduce the risk of falls, such as the waiting room’s customized chairs with extra sturdy arms and legs and contrasting colors on the walls and floors.

The SECU is the latest achievement resulting from Gary and Mary West’s lifelong mission to help older adults age in place and improve their access to quality, affordable care. Since 2006, the Gary and Mary West Foundation has awarded 518 grants totaling more than $211 million.

Further extending the SECU grant’s potential impact, West Health partnered with UC San Diego Health to produce A Practical Guide to Implementing a Geriatric Emergency Department. This free and downloadable publication includes extensive research on improving acute care for seniors and can help other emergency departments across the country replicate the example set in San Diego.

For more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of local seniors, click here.

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