Acute Care for Elders (ACE) at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor


Senior Care Designed for You

The University of Michigan and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor offer Acute Care for Elders (or ACE), an inpatient service dedicated to providing the best possible care for older adults. The unit is at the St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor location. Patients at the ACE unit are cared for by geriatricians and staff from both U-M and St. Joe’s, led by a U-M medical director. Our Acute Care for Elders unit (ACE) is one of only a few in the country that follows a national model of care proven to reduce complications of hospitalization and improve quality of life for patients age 65 and older. If a patient must be admitted to the hospital, their physician may recommend the option of receiving care at this specialized unit focused on meeting the complex needs of elderly patients. The physician will discuss each patient’s particular needs with the geriatricians at the ACE unit to decide if the patient would benefit from this unit. From the style of care to the physical features, the ACE unit provides a geriatric-friendly space for recovery. National results show that patients of ACE units average a shorter stay, maintain better physical and mental functions, and are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital than senior inpatients in traditional hospital settings.

Features of the ACE unit

The ACE stay centers on a family approach, bringing a strong collaboration between patients, their loved ones and caregivers. This unit was built at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to best serve the physical, mobility, visual, and emotional needs of older adult patients, as well as to accommodate family and visitors.

The unit includes features like:

  • Private, spacious rooms
  • Private bathrooms
  • Quiet area separate from other hospital services
  • Non-skid floors
  • Beds that can be lowered with pressure-reducing mattresses
  • Bedside recliners
  • Soft lighting and warm color palette
  • Bench seating that converts into a visitor’s bed
  • Family gathering areas

Ace unit care team and services

Patients will be cared for by a team of geriatric physicians from the University of Michigan in collaboration with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor physicians and staff.

The care team includes:

  • Geriatric physicians
  • Geriatric-trained nurses and staff
  • Dieticians
  • Social workers
  • Therapists
  • Pharmacists

Their combined expertise in care designed for seniors helps ensure better health outcomes and comfort for patients. The team will give regular updates to the primary care physician, and health records will be shared between these providers. Patients’ family will also be able to contact the ACE unit to stay in touch with the care team.

Who is the ACE unit for?

All admittance will be physician directed based on specific needs. A patient’s physician will collaborate with the ACE unit geriatrician to decide if the ACE unit is right for that specific case. Patients may be admitted through UMHS and St. Joe emergency departments, geriatric clinics, physician offices and sub-acute rehab facilities. This unit will be for patients age 65 and older who are hospitalized and who do not need urgent surgery or have other conditions that render them too unstable for a medical floor.  Examples include patients with medical problems such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, heart failure, falls and confusion. Patients who require specialty consultation (such as Cardiology), or who become too ill to remain in the ACE unit will receive specialty care from the St. Joseph Hospital consultants or Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Why are U-M and St. Joe’s creating this unit together?

The ACE unit collaboration is the latest initiative to come from a 2012 affiliation agreement between UMHS and Trinity Health-Michigan that has opened the door to opportunities to improve inpatient hospital capacity, high-complexity care for the most seriously ill patients, children’s care, cancer care, physician training and hiring and clinical research. This is an example of how two strong health systems with excellent care can work together to improve utilization of health care resources, improve the patient experience and meet a growing demand in the community.  
CTA: Read more FAQ's about the ACE unit                      

Call 734-712-6001 with any questions about the ACE unit.