US-based hospital system Prime Healthcare Services is set to launch its first geriatric emergency room and inpatient unit at Encino Hospital Medical Centre (EHMC) in Encino, California.

Claimed to be California’s first hospital to provide specialised geriatric care, EHMC will commence new unit operations on 2 March.

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The new unit was developed to offer specialised care for senior patients from the emergency room through to the end of their hospital stay.

Encino Hospital emergency room director Dr Jason Greenspan said: "Elderly patients may take multiple medications with potentially negative interactions, or they may have functional and cognitive impairments that complicate treatment."

"Claimed to be California’s first hospital to provide specialised geriatric care, EHMC will commence new unit operations on 2 March."

The programme was designed in collaboration with Emergent Medical Associates (EMA), the hospital’s emergency department’s partner, while S+AGE medical director Dr David Stern will manage the new geriatric inpatient unit.

The new unit will include a team of physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, case managers, social workers and dietitians to treat individual patients as needed.

Encino Medical Centre chief medical officer Dr Sunny Bhatia said: "The programme has been designed to make the emergency room visit and hospital stay compassionate, comfortable and effective.

"The features of the geriatric rooms are designed to address the needs of our senior patients, and enhance their experience with added comfort and safety, such as thicker mattresses, nonskid floors, handrails and soothing colours."

EHMC is a 150-bed not-for-profit hospital, which offers 24-hour ER and senior ER services, in addition to medical, surgical and diagnostic services.

Based in California, Prime Healthcare is a hospital system that operates 32 acute-care hospitals in nine states of the US.