Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center has achieved “Exemplar” status for its NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) program. NICHE is the premier designation indicating a hospital’s commitment to excellence in the care of patients 65-years-and-older. The “Exemplar” status recognizes Fort Sanders Regional’s ongoing dedication to geriatric care and progressive implementation and quality of system-wide interventions and initiatives that demonstrate organizational commitment to the care of older adults.
The status — the highest of four possible program levels — was assigned following a rigorous self-evaluation of the current state and future goals of the NICHE program at Fort Sanders Regional. The requirements include implementation of the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model and evidence-based protocols on all applicable units, including specialty units; implementation of aging-sensitive policies; inclusion of the input of patient, families and community-based providers in planning and implementation of NICHE initiatives; and assuming regional and national leadership roles.
“This honor signals our efforts to provide patient-centered care for older adults,” says Keith Altshuler, chief administrative officer at Fort Sanders Regional. “Through our participation in this 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.”
The annual program self-evaluation is used by hospitals to determine the level of their NICHE program. The evaluation benchmarks program progress year-to-year, targets future care initiatives and provides data to use in gaining and sustaining support from institution stakeholders.