A New Acute Care Unit at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Offers Personalized Care for Seniors

Guy Baird survived four bouts with cancer before developing a bone infection in his toe.

It was serious enough that his doctors recommended he have the toe amputated. While hesitant, the 75-year-old decided to go through with the procedure, even though he was not looking forward to rehab or an extended hospital stay. His wife, Becky Baird, who worked at Memorial Hermann for 19 years and now volunteers at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, had heard about the hospital’s Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit, which opened in September 2022. The new acute care unit is designed to provide high-quality, holistic and personalized care for the growing senior population in the southwest Houston area.

Becky decided that was where her husband should go.

“As an elderly person, we lose control of a lot of things,” she said. “Since this new unit focuses specifically on caring for the elderly, I felt that my husband would receive more attention, which would help with his recovery.”

The unit is designed to address the challenges older patients often face during hospitalization. Every detail, from the specialized training for care teams to the design of the unit, has been developed to deliver personalized care for patients over 65. The ACE Unit helps fulfill Memorial Hermann Health System’s commitment to serving older adults — a commitment that includes the ACE Unit and Silver Trauma Unit at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, as well as a new inpatient hospice care offering at Memorial Hermann Southwest.

“The senior population is growing rapidly in southwest Houston and throughout the Houston area, which is why a unit like this is so important for our patients and communities,” said Malisha Patel, senior vice president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Southwest and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. “Across Memorial Hermann, we all work every day to create healthier communities through personalized care. I can’t think of a better way to provide personalized care for seniors than through our new ACE Unit.”

Patel says the ACE Unit helps patients and care teams:

  • Maintain and improve the patient’s health.
  • Reduce length of stay and decrease the need for transition to another facility.
  • Get patients home sooner.
  • Decrease adverse events.
  • Increase education and connection to community resources.
  • Reduce overall readmissions.

Recently, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement recognized Memorial Hermann Southwest as an Age-Friendly Health System Participant. This honor reflects the hospital’s commitment to deliver on “the 4Ms” of age-friendly care: what matters most, medication, mentation and mobility. 

In addition, Memorial Hermann Southwest is the first hospital in the system to become a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) member. As part of their NICHE membership, ACE Unit nursing staff receive intensive training to support the development and delivery of age-friendly care that improves quality, experiences and outcomes.

“Collaboration among our physician, employee and community partners has made our ACE Unit possible, and we truly believe it will make a big difference in the lives of our senior population,” said Gillian Alexander, vice president and chief nursing officer at Memorial Hermann Southwest.

Becky Baird believes the extra care and the bigger patient rooms offered in the ACE Unit were two keys to her husband’s successful recovery.

“Because of the size of the room, he was able to do his rehab in his room, which he really liked,” Becky said. “The staff was incredible. Not only did they take great care of my husband, but they also took great care of me. They responded quickly to his needs and took a lot of time to explain to me everything that was going on with his care. It was a great comfort to both of us.”

Guy Baird is recovering well from his surgery and resuming the activities that bring him joy, including traveling. He and Becky recently returned from an eight-day trip to Europe on a riverboat cruise. He credits the outstanding care he received in the ACE Unit with helping him recover quickly and get back to doing the things he loves to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ali Vise