The Valley Hospital offers a 43-bed inpatient unit devoted to the care of older adults. Valley’s Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit has a team of providers who are experts in geriatrics. The core inpatient team includes: nurses, social workers, clinical shift supervisors, patient care associates, pharmacists, dietitians, physical, occupational and speech therapists, Advance Practice Nurse and the patients’ physicians.
Valley is one of only 270 facilities in 40 states to offer this specialized national geriatric nursing model, based from the NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) Core Curriculum which includes Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) and Geriatric Patient Care Associate (GPCA) classes which is designed to increase hospital personnel’s sensitivity to the aging process; improve the recognition of age-related changes in older adult patients and enhance communication skills with older patients and families.
Every single staff member of Valley’s ACE Unit undergoes special training in the unique needs of older adults. The results is a more positive environment for elderly patients, one in which their health, wellbeing and dignity are valued and protected.
The ACE Unit and ACE team work closely with patients’ primary care physicians to ensure the best care possible for each individual with no added cost to the patient and no increase in billing to Medicare or insurance.
Patients are kept involved in their care and encouraged to do as much for themselves as possible, including Walking and Mobility (WAM) - taking short walks with assistance or supervision throughout the unit. Special attention is paid to concerns that affect senior patients, such as fall prevention, nutrition, socialization and mobility. The staff is always seeking for Fall solutions, one intervention that is boosting prevention effort is “15 min rounding” program that is rolled-out recently to other units.
Sensory tools are used to assist patients in reading and communicating. Hearing amplifiers, magnifying glasses, ear plugs for restful sleep and other aids are available to all patients. Our geriatric psychiatrist evaluates patients for unsuspected dementia concerns in hospitalized patients. Delirium protocol will soon be in place by the Delirium taskforce working on interventions on identifying and prevention of Delirium while patient is hospitalized.
Our unit includes special details and amenities to make hospitalization safer. Examples are handrails that are colored brown and toilet seats that are black so they are easy to see. Small details such as this distinguish Valley’s unit from others in the region.
Patients also benefit from Valley’s holistic nursing program, which involves the integration of traditional nursing practice and theory with various complementary therapy modalities such as massage, music, touch therapy, meditation and aromatherapy. These services are offered at the bedside to patients and families. Some holistic modalities are also offered in the home through Valley Home Care.