Saint Peters University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J., has achieved “Senior Friendly” status for its Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders program. NICHE hospitals such as Saint Peters commit to excellence in the care of patients 65 years and older.
The “Senior Friendly” status recognizes that Saint Peters has put in place a variety of programs such as Care Companions and Silver Spoons to assist senior patients. The first program calls for volunteers to keep elder patients company. The second program provides assistance during meals. The hospital also has invested time and resources to implement the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse model, develop aging-sensitive policies and obtain input of patients, families and community-based providers in planning and implementation of NICHE initiatives.
“The NICHE designation and the Senior Friendly status are proof of our commitment to quality, patient-centered care for older adults,” Linda Carroll, RN-BC, MSN, director of professional practic, clinical education and nursing research education at Saint Peters, said in a news release. “Our participation in the NICHE program allows us to continually maintain the high standard of care that has always been available at Saint Peters. This leads to greater satisfaction rates for our patients, their families and our staff.”
The vision of NICHE is for all patients 65 and older to be given sensitive and exemplary care. The Geriatric Resource Nurse model, an educational and clinical intervention initiative, calls for NICHE hospitals to train staff nurses as clinical resource people on geriatric issues for other nurses on their unit. NICHE is an international program designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults.
In the U.S., 8,000 people turn 65 every day. By the end of 2011, the senior population of America reached nearly 49 million. By 2025, it is expected to grow to nearly 72 million, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State Department. •