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Geriatric ER at Upstate University Hospital helping more seniors

Since it opened in July, the geriatric emergency room, known as GEM Care, at the Upstate University Hospital Community Campus is getting more seniors in the emergency department compared to a year ago.

GEM Care Director Dr. Jaime Ciacco said the new emergency department has achieved the goal of having fewer seniors admitted to the hospital after those visits.

He also said one thing they are finding at the facility, is that they're fixing the small things that can often be overlooked in a senior's health care.

"We found somebody on three diabetic medications, where you only need two. And we called the primary care physician, they said, 'oh right, they shouldn't be on that.' We changed their medication.  So we find simple things like that. and it's those little things that make life healthier for the senior population," Ciacco said.

Ciacco emphasized that GEM Care is meant for older patients who have general complaints.

"'I'm weak, I'm tired, I'm falling, I have a dizzy spell, I've got fevers, I've got chest pain.'  People with fractured hips go there, because it's peaceful and calming and has nice beds," Ciacco said.

The GEM Care unit provides a comfortable, calm and quiet atmosphere with seniors in mind, and staff has special geriatric training. The GEM Unit was featured Tuesday at state Sen. John DeFrancisco's annual Senior Fair at the State Fairgrounds.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.