A geriatric program for long-term care nursing staff recently celebrated success after graduating its first class in Tulsa, Okla. The program, created through a partnership with Tulsa-based Saint Francis Hospital and two Tulsa nursing homes, provides geriatric training to RNs as well as LTC non-clinical staff, certified nurse aides and certified medication aides using the Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders model, according to a news release. Based at NYU College of Nursing, NICHE is a nurse-driven program established to help hospitals improve the care of older adults.
Oklahoma’s program, with 86 graduates, was created through an Oklahoma State Department of Health Grant to fund the formation of the first geriatric education program for nursing home staff, according to a February NICHE news release. The NICHE model focuses on early recognition of geriatric syndromes and chronic diseases in the frail older adult, the release said, and the Oklahoma education project was formed with NICHE resources, including the Introduction to Gerontology course, Geriatric Resource Nurse curriculum, Geriatric Patient Care Associate course and the Long Term Care Geriatric Institutional Assessment Profile benchmarking tool, the news release said.
“This has been a tremendous opportunity to watch the growth of students who have not had a chance to study gerontology and how aging affects the older adult,” Joanne Alderman, MSN, APRN-CNS, RN-BC, FNGNA, grant project director and manager of geriatric collaborative care nursing services in Tulsa, said in the news release. “Their responses demonstrate a new mindset about the aging process and attitude toward care of the older adult.”
Alderman believes embedding the NICHE program with the clinical concept of mentoring preceptorship will give long-term care nursing staff an in-depth, evidenced-based education in geriatric nursing to provide quality care for patients.
A NICHE-designated facility, Saint Francis Hospital is sponsoring Oklahoma Methodist Manor and Tulsa Jewish Retirement and Health Care — the two Oklahoma nursing homes involved in the program.
Among the expected outcomes of having a geriatric program of this scope in Oklahoma according to a February news release are:
• 90% of nursing staff will complete the NICHE-based training with an 80% post-test score.
• Nursing homes will have a NICHE steering committee, a NICHE coordinator and a core group of Geriatric Resource Nurses and CNA champions.
• Program participants will articulate knowledge/skills to other long term care staff and demonstrate how the information improves resident outcomes.
Although the Tulsa program is the first of its kind in the nation, the NICHE network includes more than 620 hospitals and healthcare facilities in the U.S., Canada, Bermuda and Singapore, according to the NICHE website.
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