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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Palmetto Health is opening a new acute care for the elderly unit at Palmetto Health Richland.

The company announced Thursday they're transforming a 30-bed medical unit into one catering specifically to the needs of patients over the age of 65 who are at a high risk for complications. The unit will focus on daily interdisciplinary rounds, incorporating patient preferences during hospitalization, early mobility, nutrition and technology

Palmetto Health officials say the unit will increase communication among staff by utilizing face-to-face, daily bedside rounding with team members. They say this method allows the team to evaluate the patient's needs and response to treatment more thoroughly. Each day, the team will briefly review each patient's progress to determine the next step in his or her treatment.

"When it comes to elderly patients, there needs to be a lot more focus on nutrition, sleep, delirium prevention and early mobility," said Victor Hirth, M.D., Medical Director of Geriatric Services and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine said in a statement. "The normal hospital system isn't designed to anticipate problems of older adults or deal with them. The ACE unit is really much more prevention focused. When you address potentially inappropriate medications, promote early mobility, nutrition, sleep, delirium and other aspects of care, lots of things improve including length of stay, and readmission rates. It's hard to know exactly which factor contributes the most because it's really the program in its entirety that contributes to improvements."

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