DISSEMINATION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF ACUTE CARE FOR ELDERS (ACE) UNITS IN THE UNITED STATES
Objective: The objective of this paper is to determine prevalence and characteristics of acute care for elders (ACE) units and hospital characteristics associated with the presence of an ACE unit.
Methods: Data on characteristics and prevalence of ACE units were obtained by surveying all established geriatric medical divisions across U.S. medical schools. Data on hospital characteristics such as number of beds, revenue, number of Medicare inpatients, and average length of stay were obtained from the 1999 American Hospital Association Annual Survey Data. Descriptive statistics and t test were used to analyze the characteristics of ACE units. Stepwise logistic regression was used to analyze the hospital characteristics associated with the presence of an ACE unit.
Results: The survey identified 16 geriatric divisions and programs with ACE units. Hospitals that have ACE units differ significantly with respect to number of beds and total revenue, compared with institutions that do not have an ACE unit. Stepwise logistic regression indicated total hospital revenue was the only factor significantly associated with the presence of an ACE unit.
Conclusions: ACE units are attractive interdisciplinary models to address the particular needs of the elderly during their hospital stay. Low presence of ACE units warrants further research as to reasons more hospitals have not included them, given the available evidence for clinical, functional, and economic benefits.
Key Words: ACE unit; Hospital care; Elderly care; Interdisciplinary model.