DOING IT BETTER: Acute care for elders prevents functional decline

October 2005 
Volume 35  Number 10
Pages 70 - 71
  PDF Version Available!


WE'VE TAKEN A PROACTIVE approach to the care of acutely ill older adults by establishing a special unit for them in our large tertiary care center. After an acute illness and hospitalization, many older adults experience a decline in their physical and cognitive function; about 25% of them never return to their previous living situation, mostly because their special needs haven't been met. Keeping older adults walking and performing activities of daily living (ADL) helps to maintain their functional status. Monitoring drug reactions and interactions can head off cognitive decline in older adults, especially those who use multiple drugs.

Since we established our acute care of the elderly (ACE) unit, fewer than 3% of our older adult patients who'd been living in the community before hospitalization need to be discharged to a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Our 38-bed ACE unit ...

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