1. Conley, Deborah Marks MSN, APRN, BC, CS
  2. Donovan, Christine BSN, RN, BC
  3. Reilly, Rebecca MD
  4. Rauth, Jacque MA, MPT
  5. Distafanto, Sherri MSW
  6. Logan, Sue RN
  7. Rochford, Kevin MSW

Article Content

Acute care of older patients is a specialty area of practice. Elders have a spectrum of needs including physiological, psychosocial, functional, and socioeconomic needs that alter their response to physiologic illness and the acute care experience in general. Acute Care for Elders (ACE) units specifically designed to meet the needs of older adults and their families can have a dramatic impact on recovery from acute illness and long-term, postdischarge outcomes. Applying standardized comprehensive geriatric assessment principles across the continuum of care in an ACE unit enhances care provided to older adults and decreases the length of stay, saves money, and enhances discharges to home. The goals of geriatric assessment are to increase diagnostic accuracy, decrease functional decline, improve long-term placement options, consolidate medications, decrease hospital or nursing home stays, contribute to family proactive planning, and promote independence for older adults. Methodist Hospital has the only ACE unit in Nebraska, which has 18 beds. Research data collected on the ACE unit at Methodist Hospital for the past 12 months will be included. This presentation will examine the overall use of ACE units, patient outcomes, and the geriatric interdisciplinary team approach. More than 50% of patients hospitalized today are older than 65 years. CNSs play a key role in assisting nurses in attaining gerontological nursing education and skills in providing care for complex elder patients. Nurses need knowledge and skills on how to implement comprehensive geriatric assessment principles to improve patient' etc outcomes. The use of an interdisciplinary team and how nurses can benefit from coordinating and participating in this type of patient care environment will be discussed.


Section Description

This year's annual NACNS conference is planned for Orlando, Fla, March 9-12, 2005. Over 300 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) are expected to attend, and as with past conferences, attendees will also include graduate faculty from CNS programs, nurse administrators, and nurse researchers. The theme of the conference, CNS Leadership: Navigating the Healthcare Environment Toward Excellence, was selected to showcase the many ways CNSs acquire and disseminate knowledge and innovative practices in their specialty areas. Two preconference sessions are scheduled. One session, sponsored by NACNS Legislative/Regulatory Committee, targets information for CNSs interested in understanding the legislative/regulatory process as it deals with the practice of nursing, and will also help build skills CNSs need to engage in the process. The second session, sponsored by NACNS Education Committee, focuses on CNS education issues, and as with the education preconferences of past years, anticipates informative dialogue and much sharing among CNS educators around curriculum design, teaching strategies, and indicators of quality in the curriculum that link to the NACNS education standards to program review and excellence. The conference planning committee is proud and pleased to have Jeanette Ives Erickson, MS, RN, CNA, Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive of Massachusetts General Hospital as the opening keynote speaker. She will begin the conference by highlighting the importance of CNS practice on patient safety. The planning committee is equally proud and pleased to have NACNS past-president Rhonda Scott, PhD, RN, Chief Nursing Officer of Grady Health System as the closing speaker. Dr Scott will challenge attendees to use the information from the conference to shape quality care delivered in a safe environment and to advance the profession of nursing through direct care to clients, influencing standards of care delivered by other nurses, and influencing the healthcare delivery system to be to support innovative, cost-effective, quality nursing care. A total of 64 abstracts for podium and poster presentations were selected in addition to graduate student posters. The abstracts address the 3 spheres of CNS practice with a strong emphasis on clinical practice improvements. As you will note from the abstracts published in this issue of the journal, specialty practice areas represented in the abstracts include children, adults, and gerontological patient groups; hospital, outpatient, and home care settings, and community health. In addition, a wide variety of specialty topics including smoking cessation programs, end-of-life care issues, and protocols outlining nursing approaches to improved diabetes, cardiovascular and ventilator management. A number of the abstracts described hospital and healthcare system level innovations that resulted from CNS practice. Collectively, these abstracts reflect the breadth, depth, and richness of CNS contributions to the well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities. The following abstracts are from those presenters who elected to have their work published in the journal so those who are unable to attend this year's conference can share in the knowledge of the conference. As you read each abstract, consider the talent and clinical scholarship of your CNS colleagues who are advancing the practice of nursing and contributing to improved outcomes for patients and healthcare organizations. You may want to contact individual presenters to network, collaborate, consult, or share your own ideas about these topics. Watch for next year's call for abstracts and consider submitting an abstract for presentation at NACNS's next conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 15-18, 2006.