Hospital Honored for Its Efforts to Improve Care for Older Adult Patients
Palmetto Health Richland has received “Exemplar” status for its NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health system Elders) program. NICHE is the premier designation indicating a hospital’s commitment to excellence in the care of patients 65-years-and-older. The “Exemplar” status recognizes Palmetto Health Richland’s ongoing, high-level dedication to geriatric care and pre-eminence in the implementation and quality of system-wide interventions and initiatives that demonstrate organizational commitment to the care of older adults.
“Exemplar” status—the highest of four possible program levels—was awarded following a rigorous program evaluation of the current state and future goals of the NICHE program at Palmetto Health Richland. The requirements include implementation of the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse model and evidence-based protocols on all applicable units, including specialty units; implantation of system aging-sensitive policies; inclusion of the input of patients, families, and community-based providers in planning and implementation of NICHE initiatives; and assuming regional and national leadership roles.
Victor Hirth, medical director of geriatric services for Palmetto Health said, “Palmetto Health has been extremely progressive in recognizing both the demand and need for programs and processes for older adults within health care systems. The fact that Palmetto Health has the only hospital in the state with this certification and the only Acute Care for the Elderly unit in South Carolina demonstrates the dedication and focus on the care of this growing demographic of our population.”
Barbara Bricoli, MPA, managing director of the national NICHE program added, “Palmetto Health Richland’s evaluation demonstrated a tremendous ability to meet the needs of the older adult patient. The hospital’s high intensity level in marshalling geriatric nursing resources and support to enhance care marks it as a leader in the field.”
The annual program evaluation is used to determine the level of NICHE programs. The evaluation benchmarks program progress year-to-year, targets future care initiatives and provides data to use in gaining and sustaining support from institution stakeholders.