Following months of preparation and planning, Riverside Health System's four hospitals earned designations as NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) centers, recognizing
Fewer than 20 hospitals across the state hold the same designation, and
Created in 1994 by New York University College of Nursing, NICHE is the leading nurse-driven program designed to help improve the care of older adults. It provides nurses with education and best practice models for responding to the unique needs of older patients.
"Ten thousand people a day turn 65," said
Those older adults in transition are part of what Riverside calls its continuum of care, which includes the patient centered medical home and primary care, acute care services, transitional care services (such as acute rehabilitation, skilled nursing rehabilitation, skilled home health care and hospice) and then also assuring the patient's care is coordinated across the continuum.
According to NICHE, designated hospitals have higher patient and family satisfaction overall.
"With the aging of baby boomers, improving geriatric nursing competencies is more important than ever," according to NICHE. "The NICHE program is designed to upgrade the quality of care for hospitalized older adults by increasing awareness of geriatric issues, improving staff competence in geriatric care, and supporting the implementation of hospital geriatric protocols."
NICHE provides an "extensive array of resources and tools that guide, support, and educate healthcare professionals and facilities throughout the process of achieving NICHE designation."
The next step for each hospital is for the leadership to conduct geriatric assessment surveys of its nurses to determine the baseline knowledge of how to care for older adults.
Following the survey, each facility will begin the hands on learning and educational portion of the program with the implementation of the Geriatric Resource Nurse Curriculum.
"This program has nurses stepping up to the plate in caring for older adults," stated Susan McAndrews, Administrator at
Published: April 4, 2013