In an article recently posted on Kaiser Health News, Anna Gorman talks about the fact that less means more in the cases of elderly patients admitted into hospitals. The less an elderly patient is assisted in their daily tasks the easier it will be for them to return to their normal lives. A study from 2011 found that about one third of the patients over 70 and half over 85 where unable to leave the hospital in the same independent state that they were in before. Hospitals focus on healing the illness or injury but tend to not focus on the proper nutrition and mobility to keep their strength.
“Nurses at other hospitals are often so busy administering medications and tending to wounds that they don’t make time to walk with their charges. The emphasis on patient mobility is “a culture change” for most hospitals.”
– Andres Viles, a nurse coordinator
This is where ACE (Acute Care for Elders) Unit comes into place. It consists of a specialized environment, patient centered care, prevention protocols, an interdisciplinary team, and discharge planning from the day of admission. Independence is the focus of ACE with less procedures, fewer checking vitals in the middle of the night, and quieter rooms. There is also activities for the patients to participate in. These are ordered by the doctor so they really don’t have the choice to lay comfortably in bed.
However, majority of hospitals are turned away from this program for liability reasons. Families can sue if their loved one falls but not so much when they just come home weak. The All-Call® Fall Management System was designed for a very similar purpose. If a patient is still at a high risk for falling it allows the staff to monitor from a distance, promoting independence with stability.
You can read Anna Gorman’s full article about Elderly Patients In The Hospital Need To Keep Moving at Kaiser Health News.org, a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.