U-M teams up with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to create hospital unit for seniors

In a joint effort to improve health outcomes for the region’s older adult patient population, the University of Michigan Health System and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor will collaborate to open a medical care unit specializing in geriatric care.

The new UMHS-SJMAA Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit brings together the area’s foremost geriatric experts in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility designed especially for senior patients. Housed on the tenth floor of St. Joe’s East Tower, the ACE unit will provide elder care by a skilled team of health care providers led by UMHS medical director Karen Hall, M.D., Ph.D.

The new ACE unit is scheduled to begin receiving patients on May 28, as the result of a joint operating agreement between the two institutions. The unit provides specialized care for patients age 70 and older who are admitted through U-M emergency departments, geriatric clinics, physician offices and sub-acute rehabilitation facilities.

“We are pleased that our affiliation with Trinity Health-Michigan is facilitating the opening of this unit, which will improve health value to one of our fastest-growing patient populations,” says Tony Denton, executive director and COO of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers at the U-M Health System.

“Research tells us that this group of patients experiences functional declines associated with a hospital stay, and the new ACE unit is a joint effort to maintain and improve functional status, a very important goal for patients and families.”

In addition to Hall, three other UMHS geriatricians – Erika Manu, M.D., Anjanette Stoltz, M.D. and Raymond Yung, M.D – as well as Salas Sabnis, M.D., from St. Joe’s, will provide care in the unit. An interdisciplinary team of St. Joe’s geriatric medicine-trained nurses, physical occupational therapists, a social worker, chaplain, pharmacist and dietician will also work closely with patients and family members to customize care for each patient.

The ACE unit collaboration is the latest initiative to come from a 2012 affiliation agreement between UMHS and Trinity Health-Michigan that has paved the way for closer cooperation in specific programs benefiting patients around the state.

“Our collaboration with UMHS is generating incredible opportunities to proactively address the needs of the communities we serve,” says Rob Casalou, president and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. “The Acute Care for the Elderly unit is one of the few programs in the country specially designed for acutely ill older adults. Our team brings a different perspective to a patient’s care and an understanding of the risks that elderly patients face.”

The ACE unit is one of only a few in the country that follows a nationally renowned model of care proven to help older patients recover from illnesses or injury, help them maintain their strength and mobility, and to reduce complications during their hospital stay.

Patients will receive specialized care addressing the natural changes that result from the aging process, including health concerns tied to independent functioning, comfort level, skin health, nutrition and response to treatment.

The ACE unit also allows patients to recover in a geriatric-friendly environment that includes private, spacious rooms in a peaceful, quiet area separate from the rest of the hospital and décor that promotes a homelike atmosphere. Everything is designed with the senior’s special needs in mind, including non-skid floors to help prevent falls, pressure-relieving mattresses to minimize the risk of developing pressure ulcers, low-set beds, ample handrails and soft lighting. Bench seating that converts into a bed for loved ones, and a family gathering area complete with couches and a coffee station, also contribute to a soothing care environment.

“Together, the highly trained and dedicated medical professionals of UMHS and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor will provide top-notch care leading to quicker, more complete recoveries for our older patients with complex health care needs,” says Yung, M.D. chief of the Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine in the U-M Medical School. “Our shared goal is to help these patients return to a productive, meaningful life as quickly as possible.”

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and UMHS are both nationally recognized as providers of elder care excellence by the Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders (NICHE.)

For more on the ACE unit, see our FAQ and website.

For more on the Trinity Health-Michigan affiliation, click here: http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/trinity-agreement-0312


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