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Geriatric Nursing Program (NICHE)

We are pleased to be a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders) Exemplar status site committed to special health care for older adults. NICHE is a national geriatric nursing program started in 1992. NICHE is supported by the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University. Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center was the first NICHE-certified facility in our region and now joins other hospitals and a team of nationally recognized researchers, educators, nurses and doctors in a vision of sensitive care for patients 65 and older. Exemplar status is the highest of four possible program levels, recognizing our commitment to providing the highest level of geriatric care.

We demonstrate our commitment through:

  • Educating nurses in geriatric care. Our nurses have received special training about common health problems of older adults.
  • Practices to help older patients regain health and be as functional as possible. We provide care to help prevent complications such as:
    • Skin breakdown
    • Falls/injuries
    • Pain
    • Acute confusion
    • Loss of strength and mobility.

Evaluating the care we provide, continuously monitoring:

  • Patient and family satisfaction
  • Patient response to care
  • Length of hospital stays
  • Improved care

Since we created this NICHE at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, our geriatric patients have enjoyed significantly better care.We have seen a reduction in:

  • Acute care falls
  • Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers
  • Use of restraints and potentially high-risk medications
  • Average length of stay for high-risk geriatric patients

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center believes in promoting best practices as the standard for geriatric nursing care.


Patient Stories

  • Back in the Saddle

    After spine surgery at Fort Sanders Regional, Michelle Rose is finally free from the suffering that held her back for so long.

  • Going Beyond the Limit

    Tammy Brooks arrived by helicopter at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at least 24 hours – maybe even several days – after suffering an acute ischemic stroke.

  • WATE-TV: East Tennessee man survives one of the deadliest types of stroke

    A local man survived the type of stroke that normally kills 80 percent of its victims. He’s doing so well, he just moved to Europe and is enjoying life to its fullest. It’s been three and a half years since Ken Harrawood suffered a stroke. It hit while he was driving to Y-12 for his first day of work with Bechtel. He now lives in Manchester, England.

  • WATE-TV: Technician who works with stroke patients becomes one himself

    Adam Hill gets the tools in place for the next life-saving surgery in the interventional radiology lab at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. As lead tech, Hill knows this place like the back of his hand. He never dreamed he’d be a patient receiving treatment here, suffering from a ruptured aneurysm, like so many patients he’s helped treat.

  • Fast Action Makes a Difference for Stroke Patient

    Since recovering from a stroke, Paul DeWitt appreciates simple pleasures that are easily taken for granted. He grasps a cup of coffee. He smiles and laughs. He even appreciates the ability to whistle.

  • Doctors Use Tiny Vacuum To Help Stroke Patients

    Jane Coleman heard her husband make an odd noise, “almost like hiccups but not exactly,” but when she turned to look at him, she knew immediately what was happening: He was having a stroke.