A Medical Unit for the Acute Care of the Elderly

Academic Article


  • Older patients often experience a loss of independent physical functioning during the course of an acute illness requiring hospitalization. This functional decline is associated with serious sequelae including prolonged hospital stay, nursing home placement, and mortality. Elements of hospitalization may contribute to the progression or persistence of functional decline. The Unit for Acute Care of the Elderly (ACE Unit) at University Hospitals of Cleveland is an acute care general medical service that is designed to foster the independent functioning of patients. The Prehab Program of Patient Centered Care on the ACE Unit is a multifaceted intervention that integrates geriatric assessment into the optimal medical and nursing care of patients in an interdisciplinary environment. The Prehab Program has several key elements tailored to each individual patient's needs: a prepared environment, patient‐centered care, multidimensional assessment and non‐pharmacologic prescriptions, medical care review, and home planning. Standards of care serve to reduce the risk of iatrogenic illness resulting from polypharmacy, use of physical restraints, and diagnostic procedures. Nurse‐initiated guidelines contribute to prevention of functional decline and to restoration of independent patient functioning. The effectiveness of the ACE Unit is being evaluated in a randomized clinical trial. 1994 The American Geriatrics Society
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Palmer RM; Landefeld CS; Kresevic D; Kowal J
  • Start Page

  • 545
  • End Page

  • 552
  • Volume

  • 42
  • Issue

  • 5