NICHE Exemplar Status for Our Excellent Care for Older Adult Patients

February 14, 2014 6:38 pm

Every Day 8,000 Baby Boomers Turn 65

Achieving ExemplNICHE_Exemplar_Desginated_Hospitalar status for its NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) program, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is one of only 27 in the country to do so. NICHE is the premier designation indicating a hospital’s commitment to excellence in the care of patients 65-years-and-older, and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has been a NICHE hospital since 2010.

Cropped Julie Lundvick

Julie Lundvick, BSN, RN-BC, CDE, Clinical Service Director of Senior Care

The new Exemplar status further recognizes Mercy Health Saint Mary’s ongoing dedication to geriatric care and initiatives that demonstrate organizational commitment to the care of older adults.

“Exemplar status is especially meaningful for our community, our patients and their caregivers as baby boomers begin to reach the age of 65. According to AARP, each day about 8,000 people will turn 65, meaning that they could begin to enroll in Medicare. This growing enrollment group will increase the demand for this specialized area of medicine that Mercy Health Saint Mary’s provides,” said Julie Lundvick, BSN, RN-BC, CDE, Clinical Service Director of Senior Care.

The Exemplar status — the highest of four possible program levels — was earned following a rigorous self-evaluation of the current state and future goals of the NICHE program at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

The key elements for earning Exemplar status include:

  • Implementation of the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model;
  • Expansion of geriatric care across all applicable units by using evidence-based protocols, such as sleep protocol, avoidance of high risk drugs for seniors, prevention of functional decline and pain management;
  • Physical design of the Senior Adult Unit and the Emergency Department at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus to accommodate for patient population;
  • Number of geriatricians who work onsite;
  • Involvement and partnership with long-term care facilities;
  • Patient conferences where patients share their hospital experience with staff.

“The NICHE designation and the Exemplar status signal our resolve to provide patient-centered care for older adults,” said Lundvick. “Through our participation in the NICHE program, we are able to offer evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches that promote better outcomes, positive experiences, and improved care for the older adults in our care. This leads to greater satisfaction rates for our patients, their families and our staff.”

“Mercy Health Saint Mary’s evaluation demonstrated a tremendous ability to meet the needs of the older adult patient,” says Liz Capezuti, PhD, RN, FAAN, director, NICHE.



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