Lakewood Hospital’s NICHE designation benefits aging population
Lakewood Hospital recently was designated as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for HealthSystem Elders) facility, a national geriatric nursing program established to improve care for older hospitalized adults. By joining NICHE and implementing its programs and protocols, the hospital is committing to systematic change that will greatly benefit its older patients. Lakewood Hospital is one of just a few designated NICHE facilities in Ohio.
Nationally, more than half of all hospitalized patients are over age 65, yet few nurses are certified in geriatric nursing. By becoming affiliated with NICHE, Lakewood Hospital is addressing the needs of its elderly patients by working to improve the approach to core clinical issues involving this population.
NICHE was created in recognition of three converging trends: the aging population of hospital patients; the ongoing national nursing shortage, especially in geriatric-trained nurses; and the need for hospitals to contain costs while improving patients’ healthcare experience.
“As we recognize these trends, it is our responsibility to take all the necessary steps so that patient care is not compromised,” says Jack Gustin, president of Lakewood Hospital. “By becoming a NICHE organization, we will be able to ensure the best and most advanced care for our aging patients is provided.”
One of the key components of Lakewood Hospital’s Vision for Tomorrow strategic plan is to grow and enhance SeniorCare Services. The NICHE program will complement these services by providing the nurses with the necessary support and education they need to provide the aging population with sensitive and exemplary care.
“By joining NICHE and implementing the policies and programs, we expect to significantly advance our understanding of the needs of our older patients, provide additional education to our nurses to meet those needs, and launch several new protocols to prevent the healthcare problems that can overwhelm older people in the hospital,” says Jacquie Nowlin, RN, Director of Patient Care Services at Lakewood Hospital.
Upon implementation of NICHE, hospitals typically report:
- Enhanced nursing knowledge and skills regarding treatment of common geriatric syndromes
- Greater patient satisfaction
- Decreased length of stay for older adult patients
- Increases in the length of time between re-admissions
- Reductions in costs associated with hospital care for the older adult
“I am grateful for our nursing staff and proud of their accomplishments,” says Mr. Gustin. “As we move forward in implementing our Vision for Tomorrow, they will continue to receive the support and education they need, along with access to some of the most advanced practices in the nation, to provide the absolute best care for our aging community.”
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