An acute care of the elderly (ACE) unit is traditionally structured as a dedicated space and interdisciplinary team for addressing the complex care needs of elderly patients in the hospital. The University Hospitals of Cleveland originally established this type of unit and other organizations, like Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE), have since adopted and adapted the concept to fit their needs.
The ACE unit concept includes dedicated units that provide care for the numerous conditions that typically afflict elderly patients. The goal of ACE units is to prevent or mitigate functional decline in elderly inpatients. At the same time, ACE units centralize expertise for geriatric interventions, particularly in service areas such as orthopedics, cardiology, and urology, and incontinence. ACE units provide care in spaces outfitted with amenities that are especially beneficial to older patients, such as rooms with more lighting and materials in large print type, among other adaptations that increase patients’ comfort level.
Considerations for ACE unit adoption