Hospital receives designation for improving elderly care
Twin Cities Community Hospital is first in SLO County to receive NICHE designation
Twin Cities Community Hospital announces its recent designation as the first NICHE – Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders – Hospital in San Luis Obispo County. The NICHE designation indicates a hospital’s commitment to elder care nursing excellence through patient-centered, evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches that promote better outcomes for older adults.
To achieve NICHE designation, Twin Cities staff members Sheila McMillan, director of critical care), Holly Cole, director for medical/surgical nursing, and Robert Cook, director of quality, completed NICHE’s Leadership Training Program and submitted long-term goals to work with the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer Carol Howland to establish best practices in Geriatric Nursing. The goal of NICHE is to achieve systematic nursing changes that benefit older patients who are hospitalized.
“This initiative and the specialized nursing care techniques we are implementing now will be increasingly important to our hospital and our patients,” says Twin Cities Hospital’s CEO Mark Lisa. “We are proud to pioneer this important effort as the first San Luis Obispo area hospital to be so-designated and remain eager and ready to provide excellent care for the growing elderly population in our community.”
In addition to being awarded the NICHE distinction, Twin Cities’ acute care nursing staff was recognized with a first-place award in April at the NICHE Conference in San Diego for its abstract on eliminating Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP) from its 10-bed ICU since 2008.
Twin Cities Clinical Nurse Specialist Cynthia Kellerman says that according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Age Related Statistics, the segment of the U.S. population that was age 65 and over in the year 2000 will double, from 35 million to 72 million, by the year 2030—a number representing nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population. In San Luis Obispo County, this trend is happening faster: According to the 2011 SLO County Senior Symposium, SLO County is experiencing a 100-149% increase in elderly population aged 60 and over, and a 200-299% increase in elderly population 85 and over. These rates far outpace those in urban centers like Los Angeles, San Diego and the Bay Area.
“Given the growing elder population in our county, participating in the NICHE initiative is essential to our aim of serving our community with the best healthcare possible,” says Kellerman. “Those who are 65 and older have very different needs than younger patients and this designation shows our senior patients and their families that we have undergone special training to look out for specific issues facing the aging population, such as hearing and vision loss and problems with balance, falling and gait, and have best practices in place to actively care for their health and dignity.”
NICHE is the leading nation-wide nurse-driven program designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults. The vision of NICHE is for all patients 65-and-over to be given sensitive and exemplary care. The mission of NICHE is to provide principles and tools to stimulate a change in the culture of healthcare facilities to achieve patient-centered care for older adults.