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Published on October 25, 2011

Crozer’s ACE Unit and Girl Scouts Help Make a Hospital Stay Easier for Families

Having a loved one in the hospital can be just as stressful for the family as it is for the patient. Like all Crozer-Keystone departments, the staff of the ACE (Acute Care of Elders) Unit at Crozer-Chester Medical Center understands this. That’s why the staff work to make it easier for the families of their patients. Among their most recent efforts was teaming up with a local Girl Scout troop to create “comfort baskets” for some ACE patient families.

The 22 sixth- and seventh-grade girls of Girl Scout Troop 57083 prepared comfort baskets for some ACE patient families. The baskets contain toiletries, snacks, bottled water, games, meal tickets and more. These baskets help patients’ families to be a little more comfortable while their loved one is in the hospital.

“All of the girls and their parents who helped them with the project were really excited to know that they would be having a direct effect on someone during a very difficult time,” says Nancy Buck, co-leader of Girl Scout Troop 57083 (Aston, Pa.). “We all tried to imagine what it would be like to be given a comfort basket during our time of need and we all thought it would be great to know that someone was thinking of us.”

The Girls Scouts are working with the ACE team in other ways. They have already funded and assisted in the planting of a flower garden for patients.

The ACE team is starting to implement other initiatives to benefit patients and their families, including pet therapy, enhanced geriatric rounds and a CHECKmates program (hospital employees who donate lunch breaks to visit and eat lunch with patients in ACE’s day room).

The ACE Unit also has some private rooms and an open dining area where patients and families are encouraged to interact. “We always strive to get our patients up and moving as early and often as it is medically possible,” says Wendy Dargay, recreational therapist. “Getting patients out of their rooms for meals is one way we do this. It allows them to get out of their room and socialize.”

Kathy Denny, Clinical Director of the ACE Unit adds, “We are a great team here on ACE. We work well together. We are tuned into the specific needs of our patients and we work hard every day to live up to our internal motto: ‘ACE is the Place.’”

The Crozer ACE Unit is designed for patients who are over 65 years old and have an acute illness or injury requiring hospitalization. Many of these patients are functioning independently or with minimal support prior to their hospitalization. The unit incorporates multidisciplinary care to meet the unique physical, mental, emotional and social needs of seniors. 

Studies have shown that older patients treated in ACE units tend to have shorter hospital stays and better outcomes. They maintain more of their ability to return to their highest level of function. As a result, they are more often able to return to their former living arrangement.

For more information about the Acute Care of Elders (ACE) Unit, contact Denny at

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