Acute Care for Elders offers specialty care for seniors

By: Jeffrey Larkin, MD
Sacred Heart Medical Center provides specialty hospital care for older adults in a dedicated Acute Care for Elders (ACE) department at its University District location.
The goal of an ACE program is to help seniors, typically age 70 and older, maintain their independence by preventing both physical and mental decline while they are being treatment for a serious illness in a hospital. This specialty care helps our older adult patients recover quickly from their acute illness and get back to normal living routines.
Research has shown that about 25 percent of elderly patients who are hospitalized for common illnesses never return to their pre-hospitalization living situation, often because of unmet care needs. Instead, many end up in nursing homes. With the ACE program, we believe we can increase the odds that our older adult patients are able to return to their homes and the lifestyle they enjoy.
The ACE department at Sacred Heart, University District, is one of approximately 90 such programs in the country. The first ACE program was created in 1989 at the University Hospitals in Cleveland, which pioneered the care model still in use today.
Under the guidance of Sacred Heart’s nationally recognized Gerontology Institute, we provide quality care to our medical patients on our ACE department. The care team is specially trained in the care of geriatric patients. Specialty training includes geriatric patient assessments, senior issues sensitivity, and working effectively with people who have communication impairments.
Members of the team who provide medical care for ACE patients include:
• Geriatric nurse practitioner
• Hospitalists
• Geriatric-trained nursing team
• Physical/occupational therapists
• Pharmacist
• Behavioral health specialists
• Registered dietitians
• Social workers and care managers
• Chaplains
• Board-certified geriatricians participate in multi-disciplinary team rounds
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Dr. Jeffrey Larkin is the medical director of the Acute Care for Elders department at Sacred Heart.