Beaumont Opens Special Unit for Older Patients

Beaumont Hospital has opened a new state-of-the-art center for the acute care of the elderly (ACE) in Royal Oak.

Dr. Susan Allen describes Beaumont's new ACE unit.
Dr. Susan Allen describes Beaumont's new ACE unit.
Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak opened the new 26-bed Henrietta & Alvin Weisberg Center for Acute Care of the Elderly last week. The new facility focuses on the needs of patients 65 and older.

"Being in a hospital can be a stressful event and patients, especially older patients, can lose strength quickly," said Dr. Susan Allen, who specializes in geriatric medicine. “We work with our patients to help them maintain strength. We help them stay active and independent.”

It's also important to keep the brain stimulated, Allen said. That's why relaxing photos of iconic Detroit landmarks, such as the Boblo Boat dock, hang on corridor walls. The idea is to create a quiet strolling path or a "memory lane" to encourage walking and keeping memory sharp.

Patients enjoy looking at the photographs and reminiscing with family members and staff, according to Joan Munchiando, director of special programs in nursing administration.

"We keep our patients moving," said Munchiando. "We want to get them back on their feet and home as quickly as possible."

The center also has a dayroom that offers a home-like environment for socializing and activities, which are overseen by nurses, to promote physical function and cognitive abilities.

"For example, we'll do a craft with a patient and she may be able to hold a conversation, but she's unable to take instruction. It might mean she is not ready to take care of herself," said nurse Maureen Raab. "It's the kind of thing we notice in the dayroom that cannot necessarily be picked up at the patient's bedside."

The unit’s creation was supported with a $1.5 million gift from Alvin and Henrietta Weisberg of Bloomfield Hills. 

“Beaumont saved my life five years ago and we are so pleased to be able to support a specialized center for seniors,” said Alvin Weisberg in a press release.. “We wanted to give back to Beaumont. As they say, the coin is round and it always comes back."

Other features of the unit include:

  • 24/7 video monitoring for patients needing close supervision
  • A nightly sleep protocol using aromatherapy, warm blankets and other sleep aids
  • Dietary room service to encourage nutrition and hydration
  • Bedside communication boards
  • Non-slip, non-glare, padded flooring to prevent falls and reduce fall injuries
  • Handrails and carpet in hallways for walking support
  • Adjustable lighting in patient rooms and automatic light sensors in bathrooms
  • Low beds that are adjustable for height to ease transfers and increase mobility
  • Special mattresses for pressure ulcer prevention and comfort
  • Elevated toilets and handrails in bathrooms
  • Large text clocks and pocket audio amplifiers to help those with vision or hearing challenges


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