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updated: 9/18/2013 6:36 PM

Elderly care unit closes at Alexian Brothers

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A patient care center for those with dementia and Alzheimer's disease at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village has closed, though its functions will remain within the hospital system, officials said Wednesday.

The Acute Care for the Elderly Unit opened at Alexian Brothers in July 2012 as a patient care location for those with dementia or Alzheimer's disease who were already hospitalized for some other condition. Officials decided last week to close it in an attempt to increase efficiencies across the hospital system, which also includes St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates.

"Like many hospitals, the evolving health care environment has led Alexian Brothers Health System to continue to focus on enhancing operational efficiencies," John Werrbach, president/CEO of Alexian Brothers Medical Center, said in a news release. "Given the changes in utilization, we have reached a strategic decision to discontinue operations of the Acute Care for the Elderly Unit at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in order to decentralize the program and implement specialized geriatric practices across our entire health system that address the unique physical and psychosocial needs of Alzheimer's patients" who are in the hospital.

The closing will result in the reduction of "less than 40 positions" at Alexian Brothers, many of which are currently vacant jobs that will go unfilled, according to Christine Budzinsky, the chief nursing officer for Alexian Brothers Health System.

"We are working closely with staff members directly impacted by this change, including those formerly within the ACE Unit, to find them comparable positions within the health system," Budzinsky said in a statement.

Patients who were in the special care unit will be cared for at both Alexian Brothers and St. Alexius Medical Center, Budzinsky said.

She said officials are currently reviewing what they will do with the space formerly occupied by the ACE unit.

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