How are we dealing with this?
Over the past decade, hospitals in Canada have been trying to adapt their models of care to become more tailored to the needs of older adults. This is surfacing through the formation of a specialized hospital unit for geriatric patients called the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit. ACE units focus on “recognizing the needs of acutely ill older patients and modifying common medical practices and standards to best meet these needs.”4
ACE hospital units have been shown to have many positive effects for both the hospital and the patient, including reduced costs, decreased length of stay, improvement in functional abilities, decreased need for antipsychotic drug use, reduced duration of urinary catheter use, reduced hospital readmissions, and reduced adverse events related to hospitalization.2
Where does the pharmacist fit in?
As the role of a pharmacist expands, physicians and patients will rely more and more on pharmacists to optimize medication management for the elderly, both in hospital and in the community. The bottom line is that there is a huge role for pharmacists to play in helping to keep older adults away from the threats of the hazardous hospital environment.
- Today’s geriatric medicine. (2015). ACE unit improve complex patient management. Retrieved from: http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/090913p28.shtml
- Physicians Weekly. (2013). Analyzing the effect of ACE units for older people. Retrieved from: http://www.physiciansweekly.com/acute-care-for-older-patients/
- Healthy Debate. (2014). Improving medication safety for the elderly. Retrieved from: http://healthydebate.ca/2014/12/topic/managing-chronic-diseases/medication-safety
- Accreditation Canada. (2013). Acute care for elders (ACE) unit – medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.accreditation.ca/acute-care-elders-ace-unit-%E2%80%93-medicine