BETHESDA, MD, September 30, 2011 -- Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC and Suburban Hospital in Bethesda earned the NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) designation from The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing. Both hospitals are members of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
NICHE is the only national geriatric initiative designed to improve the care of older hospitalized adults. In order to achieve the NICHE designation, multidisciplinary teams from both Sibley and Suburban Hospitals worked collaboratively for several months to form an advisory team, complete leadership training, create an audit of geriatric care at their institutions, and develop an action plan that addresses staff education and opportunities for improvement.
“Approximately 50 percent of hospitalized patients are age 65 and over,” explained Joan M. Vincent, RN, MSN, MS, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Sibley Hospital. “By 2030, there will be more than 71 million people in this age range, all of whom will need a significant amount of health care services. As NICHE-designated hospitals, our objective is to create an environment that anticipates and responds to their specific needs.”
Adults aged 85 and older currently comprise almost 20 percent of patients at each hospital and hospital officials say that percentage will increase considerably over the next 30 years as the population in the greater DC region grows older.
“These demographics represent a call to action for our hospitals to provide an infrastructure that will improve outcomes and create a more positive hospital experience for patients and their families,” said Barbara Jacobs, RN MSN, CCRN, CENP, Suburban Hospital’s Senior Director of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer. “The NICHE designation acknowledges that our hospitals are addressing issues that older patients face, such as hearing and vision loss and gait and balance challenges, and that we have best practices in place to provide expert, patient-centered care for these individuals.”
The two hospitals have identified several specific areas for improving clinical outcomes of their older patients, including decreasing length of stay and reducing hospital-acquired complications such as pressure ulcers, falls, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Hospital-wide education programs will help sensitize staff to the specific needs of older adults and environmental design changes are expected to enhance function and comfort. To achieve the latter, some patient-care areas have been repainted so that elderly patients can more easily differentiate between floors and walls as they walk through the hospital. In addition, toilet seats are being raised and hallways decluttered, and both hospitals are increasing efforts to identify patients most at risk for falls.
About Sibley Hospital
Serving Washington, D.C. since 1890, Sibley Memorial Hospital is a 328-bed acute care nonprofit community hospital. Sibley’s campus is also home to our assisted living residence, Grand Oaks and The Sibley Renaissance which houses our Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, skilled nursing care and a residential Alzheimer's unit. Sibley is accredited by the Joint Commission and is licensed by the District of Columbia Department of Health and Human Services.
About Suburban Hospital
Suburban Hospital is a not-for-profit, community-based hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, that has served Montgomery County and the surrounding area for more than 65 years. Suburban Hospital is distinguished by a cutting-edge stroke program; level II trauma center; centers of excellence in cardiac care, orthopedics and joint replacement surgery, neurosciences and oncology; state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment tools; and affiliations with world-class institutions, including the neighboring National Institutes of Health.