Acute Care for Elders (ACE)

The Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit at ZSFG prevents many of the hazards associated with hospitalization that older adults face. Frequently, despite treating the primary reason for admission correctly, older adults leave the hospital less able to care themselves than before their illness. The ACE unit is a system of acute hospital care starting from admission, designed to maintain or achieve independence and avoid preventable adverse events.
The ACE team uses an interprofessional model of care consisting of the bedside nurse, geriatrician, a clinical nurse specialist, an occupational therapist, a pharmacist, a social worker, and a dietitian. The ACE team provides recommendations for comprehensive care for patients on all medical and surgical services at ZSFG. The major components of ACE unit care are:
  • Prepared environment (communal dining and private rooftop garden).
  • Patient-centered care: Care that is aligned with a patient’s goals for themselves with a focus on maintaining independence and early identification and addressing risk factors for dependence (functional, cognitive, social).
  • Daily ACE team rounds with review of the acute illness and chronic medical conditions and medications in the context of a patient’s functional, cognitive, and social conditions.
  • Early and regular mobility and discharge planning.
The ACE unit has achieved excellent functional and cognitive outcomes for patients cared there. Patients are admitted to the ACE directly from the Emergency Department and in select cases, in transfer from other units.