How to develop, start, and sustain an Acute Care for Elders unit


Center for Senior Health and Longevity , ACE Unit and Senior Services, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center


The Acute Care for Elders, or ACE, unit is an evidence-based model of care focused on improving the management of acutely ill hospitalized older adults. The process of establishing an ACE unit as a new hospital program begins with development of a vision. Hospital administrators must understand and appreciate the demographics of the aging population as well as their unique needs and the potential complications they may suffer as a result of a hospitalization. Next, leaders in geriatrics must bring together an interdisciplinary team that should follow a systematic “ABC” approach to ACE unit implementation. Data collection is another important step, both in identifying and establishing the need for an ACE unit and following unit outcome measures as a means of showcasing the value-added to patients, staff, and the broader hospital system. Strong leadership to support ACE and potentially expand its reach beyond a single unit is essential in sustaining and growing the ACE program. Finally, education of patients, families, and the hospital staff, including nurses, physicians, and other members of the interdisciplinary team, is also essential for continued success.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Chapter/Book Details

In: Malone ML, Capezuti EA, Palmer RM, eds. Acute Care for Elders: A Model for Interdisciplinary Care. New York, NY: Humana Press; 2014:97. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-1025-0_6.

Link to Full Text