Virginia Hospital Opens Acute Care Unit Devoted to Family-Centered Care of the Elderly

Developing a nurse-administered, family-centered acute care unit for the elderly

Staff at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va., prepared for the opening of an acute care unit located in the University of Virginia Medical Center (UVa Medical Center). The unit would provide family-centered interdisciplinary team care for selected elderly patients considered at special risk for complications and decline resulting from hospitalization.

Key Results

  • Staff hired two full-time and two part-time advanced practice nurses to plan policy and operational procedures of the unit (including hiring additional staff and setting admissions criteria for patients).

  • In a departure from the project plan, the newly hired advanced practice nurses initiated a geriatric care consultation service within UVa Medical Center. They assisted approximately five elders per day who could not be moved from other specialized units at the center (such as surgery, cardiology and orthopedics), but who required geriatric expertise.

  • Staff created eight educational modules to teach aspects of geriatric care to staff members working on the unit and to staff working in the wider University of Virginia Health System.

    The acute care geriatric unit opened to full capacity in early 2005.

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