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Specialized care for the elderly

As the nation’s population continues to mature and live longer, the need to provide specialized care to older adults has increased as well. In response, Greenwich Hospital established the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit, a specialized wing designed to mitigate the mental and physical health decline that often occurs when older adults are hospitalized.

The 20-bed unit allows physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, physical therapists, speech pathologists, pharmacists, dietitians and others to simultaneously address multiple medical, functional and social issues. Some elderly patients are at risk for falls, delirium, muscle loss and other complications due to their age and multiple medical conditions. Patients at risk for falling are monitored by staff via video. Hospital readmissions and the length of hospital stays have decreased since the ACE Unit opened.

“What sets the ACE Unit apart from other units is the pairing of a registered nurse with a nursing assistant, who together work as a team throughout the patient’s hospital stay. Our staff also undergoes extensive education to recognize and manage the special care needs of older adults,” said Barbara Leafe, RN, director of Nursing Operations and Transformation.