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Acute Care Center

The Acute Care Center at the UI Health is an alternative to the typical Emergency Room experience. Our mission is to improve patient outcomes and reduce the need for hospitalizations due to unrelieved pain by providing immediate and aggressive treatment in a caring supporting environment. The Acute Care Center is located on the 5th Floor of the UI Hospital.


A "pain crisis" is the most common symptom of sickle cell disease and is often poorly managed. Delayed treatment in Emergency Departments, unrelieved pain, frequent admissions, and prolonged hospitalizations are common.

Studies have shown that with immediate and aggressive intervention, a pain crisis can be controlled so that patients often can return home rather than be admitted as an inpatient.

Led by our highly skilled staff, we offer state-of-the-art patient and family services with an emphasis on improving quality of life and patient satisfaction.

The Acute Care Center Provides

  • Rapid and effective management of uncomplicated pain crises
  • Immediate and aggressive pain treatment, which improves relief and reduces time in the hospital due to pain
  • Healthcare providers with expertise in the management of sickle cell disease and long-term commitment to our patients

Admitting Criteria

If you are experiencing an UNCOMPLICATED pain crisis, unable to manage your pain at home, and are 16 years of age or older, the Acute Care Center may be the right choice for you.

Signs of a COMPLICATED pain crisis include:

  • Unusually severe chest pain or headache
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Pain that is different from your typical pain crises
  • Pain crisis associated with pregnancy

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms in addition to your pain crisis, please go to the UI Health emergency room or your nearest emergency department.

Accessing the Acute Care Center

  • The Acute Care Center can accept patients Monday through Friday between 8 am and 7:30 pm. You may come directly to the Center, but we advise you to call first at 312.413.8666. If your pain crisis occurs during the night and you plan to come in during our hours, please leave a message and phone number and we will call you back at 7 am, Monday through Friday.
  • Once you arrive at our Acute Care Center, you will be admitted and treated if you do not have a complicated crisis
  • If the severity of your illness meets the criteria for a complicated pain crisis, a nurse will take you to the UI Health emergency room.
  • If your pain crisis improves after several hours of treatment, you will be discharged home on pain medications to take by mouth at home.
  • If your pain crisis does not improve within several hours, you will be admitted to the hospital.