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Unity Hospital

Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit

Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit - An innovative model for older, hospitalized patients
A family member visits a loved one in the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit.

To address the unique needs of elderly patients, Unity Hospital opened its Acute Care for the Elderly - or ACE - Unit in December 2012.

The Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit is the first of its kind within Allina Health and the second designated ACE Unit in Minnesota.

Best care practices for seniors: The ACE Unit uses research-tested geriatric best practices to help address common concerns of older patients.

Dedicated staff: Our ACE Unit is staffed by an interdisciplinary team of geriatric experts with specialized training, experience and interest in caring for older adults.

Customized care: Each patient’s care plan on the ACE Unit is focused on preventing and improving geriatric medical concerns with a goal of maintaining, and whenever possible, restoring functional abilities.

Adapted environment: The hospital environment on the ACE Unit has been adapted for older, and sometimes frail, adults including flooring designed to decrease glare and noise, enhanced lighting, and a common living room area for eating, socialization and therapeutic recreation.

Safety and comfort for seniors: Handrails, furniture, signs and lighting have all been customized to address the safety, comfort and care of older adult patients.

Patients on the ACE Unit are cared for by an interdisciplinary team of experts including social workers, case managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, registered nurses with geriatric education and experience, nursing assistants, geriatricians, hospitalist physician and a geriatric clinical nurse specialist.

Daily rounds
Designated team members attend daily rounds to address the unique needs of each patient.

Transition conferences for patients and family members
Transition conferences may be planned with the patient and family members to ensure the most successful transition after discharge. Whenever possible, each patient’s care is focused on activity and independence. Team members work with the patient and family to offer the best care experience possible.

Expert nursing care
Nurses with geriatric education and experience in the care of older adult patients play a key role in the ACE Unit care.

Medical director
Kathy Woo-Rippe, MD, serves as the medical director for Unity Hospital’s ACE Unit. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Woo-Rippe is board-certified in family medicine and geriatric medicine.

Our mission

We serve our older hospitalized patients with a focus on maintaining, and whenever possible, restoring or improving functional abilities and outcomes through an interdisciplinary team approach in partnership with the patient and family.

Our vision

We will:

  • provide compassionate, supportive, and respectful care for hospitalized older adults and families with a commitment to open communication and teamwork
  • customize care for our older adult patients and family members by defining care goals and offering options to support these goals
  • create and maintain a safe environment especially prepared for our older adult patients
  • lead efforts to prevent functional decline in hospitalized older adults by providing exceptional, interdisciplinary care designed specifically for this patient population.

How is Unity Hospital’s ACE Unit different from other medical units?

The ACE Unit offers patients and family members:

  • an environment adapted for the needs of older patients
  • protocols and procedures focused on geriatric issues
  • broader functional information collected from patients and family members to address common health concerns of senior patients
  • focus on functional and mobility with physical therapy and occupational therapy
  • comprehensive discharge planning that begins after a patient is admitted.

How is a patient admitted to the ACE Unit?

A physician or other health care provider must admit the patient to the ACE Unit.

The ACE Unit has been designed to offer care for patients 70 years or older with an acute medical diagnosis such as anemia, urinary tract infection, dehydration, pneumonia, abdominal pain, weakness, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and more.

Are there certain conditions in which an older patient would not be admitted to the ACE Unit?

Yes. Patients less than 70 years of age, those in a long-term care facility, or patients in hospice care will not be admitted to the ACE Unit. The ACE Unit is especially designed for patients with an acute medical diagnosis, and those needing specialized inpatient surgical, psychiatric, intensive care, and cardiac or oncology care will be admitted to a different unit at the hospital.

ACE Unit patients must meet certain criteria for admissions and be referred by their physician or health care provider.


Adobe reader required to view documentLearn more about the ACE Unit at Unity Hospital.

  • Learn how the ACE Unity differs from other medical units
  • Learn about the admission process and criteria
  • Learn about the ACE Unit medical model