FORT WAYNE - Fort Wayne-based Lutheran Health Network says one of its hospitals is the first facility in the state to receive a special designation for the care of senior patients. The American College of Emergency Physicians has accredited the ER at Dupont Hospital as a Geriatric Emergency Department.

The accreditation program was launched earlier this year to recognize emergency departments that provide excellent care for older adults. The emergency department at Dupont Hospital has received the bronze standard - Level 3 Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation.

Lutheran Health says Dupont is now one of only 14 emergency departments to receive the accreditation on any level.

"Dupont Hospital’s accreditation signals to the public that the hospital is focused on the highest standards of care for its community's older adults," said Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "The hospital is led by a remarkable team of interdisciplinary leaders, and we are enthusiastic about the possibility of helping them further enhance its geriatric expertise now and in the future."

The GEDA program include three levels similar to trauma center designations. To be eligible for accreditation, emergency departments must meet a certain number of best practices for geriatric care determined by the ACEP. A Level 3 emergency department "must incorporate a few of these best practices, along with providing interdisciplinary geriatric education, and having geriatric appropriate equipment and supplies available," according to Lutheran Health.

"Aging should not be regarded as an affliction – it is a stage in life, like all others, that deserves to be celebrated and documented in all its natural grace and beauty," said Lorenzo Suter, chief executive officer of Dupont Hospital. "Our hospital is best known for birthing, but we continue to focus in on how Dupont can allow our seniors to adapt to healthy lifestyles to assure an inexorable transition."