Hampton, VA (February 2013) - The new Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit at Sentara CarePlex has been designed to provide a homelike environment for senior patients. With soothing colors, comfortable furniture, calm lighting, and compassionate staff, senior patients will be made to feel at home.
The ACE unit’s purpose is to help seniors maintain their independence and to get the patient back to their baseline of physical functioning prior to admittance. Through the team’s interdisciplinary processes of care, team members evaluate their patients’ physical and cognitive conditions during hourly team rounds. The nurses evaluate patients temperament, review their medication and medical status, prepare patients for their transition of care, and most importantly they ensure patient safety.
“It’s a systematic approach – every aspect of the patient’s physical, cognitive and social health is thought about,” says Dr. Robert Palmer, Director of EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology.
Furthermore, ACE unit nurses have received Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) certification training, a national program to improve care for older hospitalized adults. The NICHE Leadership Training Program (LTP) includes a six-week, web-based, 28 contact hour program along with several live webinars. Upon completion of the LTP program, an action plan was submitted for review by a NICHE expert. Sentara CarePlex was successful in achieving their goals and was awarded the NICHE designation.
“There would be no ACE unit without our NICHE certification,” says Torie Bashay, Director of Patient Care Services at Sentara CarePlex. NICHE certified nurses have advanced understanding of the needs of older patients, are trained to meet those needs, and are implementing new approaches to help prevent common geriatric conditions.
“It all begins with the bedside evaluation which is a key aspect for the senior population,” says Bashay.
The interdisciplinary team approach combined with the NICHE certification enables clinical professionals to effectively reduce risks, impairments and disability. “We focus on being proactive instead of reactive,” says Sandi Karam, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Sentara CarePlex. The team is able to identify the needs of each patient from the day of admission to the day of their planned discharge.
Specialized, quality patient care is what makes the Acute Care for Elders unit at Sentara CarePlex, unique and successful. Providing this enhanced service to the community is fulfilling a need to the elderly population amongst all of the communities Sentara Healthcare serves.
Acute Care for Elders (ACE)
Senior Services at Sentara
NICHE Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders
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