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Analyzing the Effect of ACE Units for Older Patients

Analyzing the Effect of ACE Units for Older Patients

In order for the economic stability of the United States healthcare system to improve, hospitals throughout the country are striving to deliver high-quality care while containing cost. Current estimates suggest that the proportion of adults aged 65 and older will exceed 20% by 2030. This creates a need for the development of strategies that improve patient-centered care for older patients while reducing costs. Another important consideration in this patient population is reducing adverse outcomes resulting from hospitalization. In an effort to address care for older patients, many hospitals throughout the U.S. have been developing Acute Care for Elders (ACE) units for the past 20 years. These units use an interdisciplinary team model to provide hospital care as opposed to a multidisciplinary model. “An interdisciplinary model integrates disciplines to collaboratively develop patient-centered care plans,” explains Kellie L. Flood, MD. “With multidisciplinary models, providers from all disciplines deliver care, but tend to practice independently or operate in silos.” The primary purpose of the ACE model is to reduce adverse outcomes in older adults with frequent interdisciplinary team rounds. During these rounds, geriatric syndromes are recognized and managed, while transition planning is initiated from the day of admission. In previous studies, ACE units have been shown to improve processes of care, prescribing practices, physical functioning, and patient and provider satisfaction. These analyses have also suggested that ACE units help reduce rates of restraint use and institutionalization. Assessing the ACE Model To gain better perspective on the value of ACE models, Dr. Flood and colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine that examined variable direct...
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