BRIDGEPORT — Bridgeport Hospital is the first hospital in Connecticut to earn Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians. The accreditation means that the Bridgeport Hospital Emergency Department is focused on the highest standards of care for older adults.

“This is a major accomplishment in our evolution of providing age-friendly care to our community,” said Dr. Vivian Argento, Bridgeport Hospital’s executive director of Geriatric and Palliative Care in a news release. “This accreditation gives us visibility and motivation to keep challenging ourselves to do better.”

“Having geriatric care experts in our ED helps foster a better dialog with patients and families so we can understand them better and provide better care to maximize their lives,” said Dr. Rockman Ferrigno, chair, Emergency Medicine at Bridgeport Hospital in the same release. “We’re having great conversations with patients, he said. “We help reduce their health risks and can help keep them out of the hospital. We’re partnering with them to give them a better life.”

Ferrigno said Bridgeport Hospital established a specialized Geriatric Emergency Medicine Service 10 years ago with a dedicated team of geriatric physicians and advanced practice nurses.

The voluntary Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation program is the culmination of years of progress in emergency care of older adults. In 2014, the American College of Emergency Physicians along with the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, Emergency Nurses Association, and American Geriatrics Society, developed and released geriatric ED guidelines, recommending measures ranging from adding geriatric-friendly equipment and specialized staff to more routine screening for delirium, dementia and fall risk, among other vulnerabilities.

An accredited emergency department must incorporate many of these best practices, along with providing interdisciplinary geriatric education and having geriatric-appropriate equipment and supplies available.