Hospitals that use special Acute Care of the Elderly teams to target complex needs of their frail, elderly patients can see a drop in adverse events and shorter lengths of stay, even if the patients aren't housed in a dedicated unit but are scattered throughout the hospital.
And if the targeted care takes place in a distinct hospital unit, average costs for treating those patients, as well as 30-day readmissions, can drop too.
Those are separate conclusions from two reports on ACE units published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers in the first study used a mobile version of the ACE team, or MACE, at 1,200-bed Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The mobile unit was led by a hospitalist who specialized in geriatric medicine, along with a clinical nurse specialist who made daily rounds on patients who were not in a special physical unit of the hospital but scattered throughout the facility, says William W. Hung, MD, the study's corresponding author.
Hung says the experienced team was able to better understand the risk factors for developing adverse events, and took special attention to assure patients were moving as soon as possible.
Because of that, he says, they avoided complications. They also focused on making sure that these patients, all of whom were over the age of 75, avoided polypharmacy with medications that counteract or adversely react with each other.