Advanced Practice Provider Week: Acute Care for the Elderly

It is a privilege and tremendous honor to be an advanced practice nurse at The Christ Hospital Health Network. I work on the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) unit alongside a dedicated and committed team of people who work together in caring for this vulnerable, frail population.

One of the best parts of my job is advocating for older adults and their families. Geriatric hospital care oftentimes puts an entire family in crisis. While the adult children might never have realized mom's frailty until her hospital admission and hip fracture, they now are forced to confront not only mom's need for increased help at home, but also how much she was taking care of their aging father as well. Our ACE care team aims to provide better care for our patients by limiting interruptions to the routines of older adults. This is a critical step in reducing iatrogenesis and enhancing safety, as well as improving comfort in the hospital. By adhering to the patient's home routine as much as possible, patients and their families feel more at home during their stay in the hospital.

We frequently use music therapy on the ACE unit. There was a patient admitted around this time last year, who had a diagnosis of advanced Alzheimer's disease. She could speak only one or two words, and had difficulty even holding her head up to eat or drink. During a therapy session in our activity room, we turned the ACE radio to the Christmas music channel. The patient immediately lifted her head, and began to sing along to "Silent Night". Her family then told us that mom always loved Christmas and before she developed Alzheimer's disease, had decorated the house every year for the holiday. The ACE staff then took it upon themselves to decorate the patient's room for the remainder of her admission. It is the efforts of the team that work together to uphold the dignity of our patients that make my job such a special and unique one.

Happy Advanced Practice Provider week to all the exceptional APPs who provide quality, compassionate, patient-and-family centered care! It's an extraordinary honor to do what I do, and I'm very grateful to work alongside such wonderful professionals.