Healthy Growth

By Elizabeth Beilman

New Nurse-led Low-Acuity Floor Emphasizes Collaboration

A low-acuity inpatient floor that opened in fall 2017 as part of University of Cincinnati Medical Center provides hospitalized patients in need of continuing medical attention with a collaborative, nurse-led care team.

The unit opened across the street from UC Medical Center—in the UC Health Business Center’s Ridgeway Pavilion—which in 2016 had seen its 5th and 6th floors converted for inpatient psychiatry services. A multidisciplinary team, led by nurse leaders, worked together to transform the 4th floor space for low-acuity patients, increasing the academic health system’s capacity for patients with more medically complex needs.

The 26-bed unit with private rooms primarily receives low-acuity patients from UC Medical Center units working to secure optimal post-hospitalization care.

Nurses are joined by physicians, pharmacists, social workers and other clinicians and staff who all are dedicated solely to patient care on this floor. Twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, nurse-led interprofessional rounds occur at the bedside with the patient and family.

“Everybody has such high engagement because they have this focused patient population,” said Lexi Wells, RN, clinical manager of the floor.

Patients’ length of stay on the floor can range from three days to six weeks.

“Because our lengths of stay can be longer, the nurses develop relationships with the patients and the families,” Wells said. “You get to know them, you get to understand their plan. You can anticipate their needs and understand their journey.”

The floor provides patients with entertainment and other activities to nurse their emotional, social and psychological needs, too.

“This patient population needs a little bit more of a therapeutic milieu as well as the medicine nursing care piece because of their extended stay,” said Jane Goetz, MSN, RN, director of nursing administration at UC Medical Center.

Nurses are also dedicated to maintaining excellence on the floor in a variety of areas.

Weekly interprofessional huddles “ensure they are building a unit of high-reliability as far as safety, quality and patient experience,” Goetz said.

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