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Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice Within the Acute Care for Elders Interdisciplinary Team Model

BENEDICT, LYN MSN, RN, CNS; ROBINSON, KAREN MSN, RN, CNS; HOLDER, CAROLYN MSN, RN, CNS

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As the complexity of care increases for hospitalized older adults, the clinical nurse specialist is essential for ongoing development of nursing practice and care standards. This article describes the Acute Care of the Elderly (ACE) model for interdisciplinary management of older adults and clinical specialist responsibilities within this interdisciplinary team. Within the model, clinical care specialists utilize clinical expertise and consultation skills reflecting three spheres of practice related to care of high-risk community-dwelling older adults admitted an acute medical unit. The goal for this patient group is to achieve medical stability while preserving maximum functioning. The Acute Care of the Elderly team members include primary nurses (staff nurses), physicians, clinical care specialists, therapies, social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and a discharge planner. Under the leadership of the primarily nurse, the team develops a comprehensive care and discharge plan, implemented across a care continuum. Using protocols and working together, the team delivers cost-effective, coordinated care that promotes process improvement resulting in practice that is in alignment with current standards of care.

From the Summa Health System, Akron City Hospital, Akron, Ohio.

Corresponding author: Lyn Benedict, MSN, RN, CNS, 525 E. Market Street, Akron, OH 44309-2090 (e-mail: BenedicL@summa-health.org).

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.