Baptist Medical Center Beaches opens AgeWell Advanced Care Unit to meet needs of older patients
February 9, 2016 | Jacksonville, FL
Baptist Medical Center Beaches is the first hospital in the region to open a unit specifically designed to help older patients avoid functional decline and improve their opportunity for a healthy transition to home after a hospital stay.
Baptist Beaches’ 12-bed AgeWell Advanced Care Unit (ACU) accommodates the health needs of older patients through a comprehensive approach, beginning with a geriatric assessment, which looks at all aspects of an older adult’s health, such as physical, cognitive and psychosocial conditions. A team of health experts, comprised of nurses, social workers, rehabilitation therapists, pharmacists and others, work together with patients and their families to create a customized plan of care, including a plan for safe discharge from the hospital to reduce the likelihood of readmission.
“We want to meet the unique needs of our older patients who make up a considerable amount of our population at the beach,” said Baptist Beaches Hospital President Joe Mitrick. “More than 60 percent of patients who are admitted through our Emergency Center are 65 and older. We are very appreciative of the support of the Riverside Hospital Foundation, which provided a $90,000 grant to help underwrite the costs of establishing the AgeWell Advanced Care Unit at Baptist Beaches.”
The goal of the new unit is to reduce the functional decline that often occurs in vulnerable older adults after a hospital stay. In addition, the new unit features non-slip floors, lower bed heights with safety alarms, natural colors and brighter lighting, as well as phones and clocks with larger numbers. The rooms also feature recliners with higher seats to make it easier to stand from a seated position. The health care team is led by Geriatrician Hardik Shah, MD, medical director of the AgeWell Advanced Care Unit.
“We want to identify vulnerable older patients and accommodate their needs through the Advanced Care Unit so that they don’t experience functional decline during their hospital stay,” explained. Dr. Shah. “This new approach will enable us to prevent these patients from developing common conditions, like falls, adverse reactions from multiple medications, or delirium, which many older patients experience during an acute hospital stay.”
The AgeWell Advanced Care Unit is part of Baptist Health’s AgeWell Institute, which was launched in 2012 to respond to the community’s need to enhance the quality of life for older adults. In addition to the AgeWell Advanced Care Unit, other programs include the AgeWell Center for Senior Health, a specialized outpatient center with a primary care team focused on promoting healthy aging for older adults with complex needs.