St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pa., has achieved Exemplar status for its Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders program, the highest designation in an international nurse-driven initiative designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults, according to a news release.
SMMC is one of 37 medical centers in the U.S. to have achieved NICHE Exemplar status.
Older adults have unique health needs and we are fully committed to meeting them, Sharon Brown, MSN, RN, FACHE, NE-BC, vice president of patient care and CNO of St. Mary Medical Center, said in the release. Brown said the population of Bucks County is aging faster than other counties in Pennsylvania, which makes it especially important to have senior-friendly programs, protocols and initiatives in place.
The Exemplar designation is a proud achievement that means we already have a uniquely skilled nursing team and a medical center sensitive to the needs of older adults, Brown said in the release. We implemented hospitalwide initiatives that support excellent care for seniors such as fall-prevention programs and sleep-enhancement protocols that reduce the need for medications that can have adverse side effects for seniors.
Gerontology nurse specialist Ruth Crothers, PhD, RN-BC, AGCNS-BC, is the NICHE coordinator who has worked to train geriatric resource nurses at St. Mary.
One of the key strategies that helped the St. Mary Medical Center NICHE program progress to the Exemplar designation so quickly was the recruitment of GRNs from all of our nursing units that care for older adults, including the specialty units, instead of beginning with just one or two pilot units, Crothers said in the release.
Although the Exemplar status typically takes many years to achieve, it was a substantial commitment hospitalwide that allowed St. Mary to achieve the distinction in just three years, Brown said.
The NICHE Exemplar status requires hospitals to follow the NICHE GRN model of care, which involves special training and certification of nursing staff across multiple specialties, according to the release.