ACE Benefits to Patients

An independent 80-year-old breaks his hip at home and undergoes hip replacement surgery. In the recovery phase, he refuses physical therapy - and because of his pain and inactivity, his appetite and thirst decline. He quickly becomes malnourished and dehydrated. His family and health care team are unsuccessful in their attempts to get him to eat, drink and work with the physical therapist, so he's sent to a nursing home to recover.

His mental state declines, and he remains in the nursing home permanently - losing his independence and home.

Though sad and unfortunate, scenarios like this one are not uncommon when an older adult is hospitalized for an acute medical illness. Studies have shown that 20 to 60 percent of older people who are hospitalized will experience a decline in their functional abilities. At the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin, the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) team is designed to help older patients maintain their level of functionality and independence.

The interdisciplinary ACE team reviews each patient's needs to improve the quality of care of the hospitalized elderly. Benefits to the older patient include: 

  • Improved functional status
  • Decreased use of restraints
  • Decreased admission to a nursing home or other care facility after being discharged from the hospital
  • Reduction of falls
  • Reduction of pressure ulcers
  • Reduction of medication-related adverse effects
  • Improved quality of care