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Your Health: Senior Specialty Unit

As we age, our bodies have different needs, and those needs can become vitally important once an elderly person is hospitalized. In this week's Your Health, we begin part one of a three part series on Washington Regional Medical Center's Senior Speciality Unit.
As we age, our bodies have different needs and those needs can become vitally important once an elderly person is hospitalized. In this week's Your Health, we begin part one of a three part series on Washington Regional Medical Center's Senior Speciality Unit. Dr. Randy Shinn, a geriatrician with Washington Regional, says the Senior Specialty Unit is actually designed as what is called an "ACE" unit, which stands for acute care of the elderly.

Read the rest of Dr. Shinn's interview below:

"When an older adult is admitted to the hospital, there's a lot of functional status or a functional decline while they're hospitalized," says Dr. Shinn. "This is usually separate from the reason they're being admitted. And so the whole idea behind the Senior Specialty Unit or an ACE unit is that we're trying to prevent the functional decline that happens during a hospitalization.

"As we age, we don't handle some medications as well - our body doesn't - as when we were younger. And so we use a specialized list that was developed by geriatric medicine to look at medications that may be potentially inappropriate to use with a person. So we kind of ward that off because sometimes someone may have to stay in the hospital maybe an extra day or two because they've had a reaction to a medication that perhaps their physician wasn't aware of when they were originally prescribing the medication."

"I think actually having a hospital system that actually works senior care and geriatric medicine of allowing us to have a unit this way, of becoming a niche-certified hospital showing that they care about the outcomes of senior adults. And so I think even though whatever procedure you have, whatever you're getting done, or what kind of illness you have, not only do we treat the youngest of young but we can also treat the oldest of old and try to treat to the best outcome and the best practices available."
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