Health Care

Geriatric emergency medicine accredited at VT hospital

Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor

The Emergency Department at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center (MAHHC) has earned accreditation as a Level 2 Geriatric Emergency Department from the American College of Emergency Physicians, a hospital statement said.

The voluntary Geriatric Emergency Department (GED) Accreditation Program, was created to recognize emergency departments that uphold the highest standards of care for older adults. The accreditation process provides best practices for geriatric care, such as guaranteeing the best transition of care from the GED to other settings and prioritizing education surrounding geriatric care.

Vermont second-oldest state – more than 260,000 residents of the state are seniors (50+), which puts Vermont at No. 2 nationally by the percentage of people 50 and older, according to seniorliving.com. Only Maine has a higher ratio of seniors, and Vermont is tied for No. 2 with New Hampshire for the highest median age. Vermont’s median age of 43.1 is nearly three years higher than the overall U.S. median age of 38.5.

What else can we learn from demographic, economic and health data about the state of Vermont’s seniors? The state’s life expectancy is among the highest at nearly 80 years, compared to the average U.S. life expectancy of 78.5. And while a higher-than-average percentage of seniors 55 and up remain in the workforce, the state’s median income for 65-and-up households is slightly lower than the national median.

This demographic shift brings challenges to healthcare systems as older adults visit emergency departments (EDs) at comparatively higher rates than non-seniors, often present with multiple chronic conditions, are at increased risk of polypharmacy, and suffer from complex social and physical challenges. Seniors make contact with the health care system at many points – perhaps none as frequently or as importantly as the emergency department.

The Geriatric Emergency Department at MAHHC is a “spoke” site of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center’s “hub,” which is the nation’s only rural Level 1 Geriatric Emergency Department.


Founded in 1933, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center (MAHHC) is a not-for-profit community hospital network in Vermont, including the critical access-designated Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Historic Homes of Runnemede, a senior residential care campus, in Windsor, as well as the Ottauquechee Health Center in Woodstock.

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1 reply »

  1. Since when are 50 year olds “seniors”? Only to AARP I think. Let’s not encourage this trend.

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