Dissemination and implementation of age-friendly care and geriatric emergency department accreditation at Veterans Affairs hospitals

Ula Hwang, Tessa Runels, Ling Han, Erica Gruber, Colleen M. McQuown, Luna Ragsdale, Ethan Jetter, Nicole Rossomano, Denise Javier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: In 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) and the National Emergency Medicine (EM) Program partnered to improve emergency care for older Veterans. A core team disseminated age-friendly models of care via education and standardization of practice with the goal of multisite geriatric emergency department (GED) accreditation. We compare rates of GED screening at VAs with GED implementation to those without. Methods: Observational evaluation of GED screening of older Veterans (≥65 years) at VA Emergency Departments (ED) from January 2018 to March 2022, during peak pandemic years. Data were extracted from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse of Veteran ED visit encounters to track documented GED screens and Veteran demographic data. Generalized estimating equation models were used to compare screening completion across different levels of GED accreditation, adjusting for potential confounding. Results: During this period, over 1.07 million Veterans ≥ 65 years of age made 4.07 million VA ED visits. Mean (±SD) age was 73.4 (±7.2) years, 96.5% were male, 68% were White, and 89.9% made their index ED visit at a non-GED VA ED. As of early 2022, a total of 50 of 111 VA EDs have achieved or applied for GED accreditation. During early 2022, 8.3% of all visits by older Veterans had at least one GED screen documented; 15% were screened at Levels 1–3 GED versus 2.2% at non-GED facilities. Screens identifying older adults at risk for poor outcomes, for delirium, and for falls had the highest usage rates within VA GEDs. Veterans seen at Level 1 GEDs had a 76-fold greater odds of having a GED screen than at Level 3 GEDs (odds ratio 75.8, 95% confidence interval 72.8–79.0). Conclusions: Through VA National Office of GEC and EM Program partnership, the VA has created, standardized, and disseminated a GED Model of Care, despite the pandemic. GED accreditation was associated with GED screen implementation, with Level 1 having the highest screening prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • accreditation
  • dissemination and implementation
  • emergency care
  • geriatric


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