Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus, has been awarded designation as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) Hospital in recognition of its commitment to elder care excellence. Its sister hospital, Long Branch-based Monmouth Medical Center, received NICHE designation in January.
National recognition as a NICHE-designated hospital provides us with a wealth of educational opportunities that will complement the action plan we have already implemented, giving us a road map for moving forward, said Joan Wills, RN, MPA, regional assistant vice president at Monmouth Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus who serves as each hospitals NICHE coordinator.
Throughout the course of eight weeks, a five-member team of nurses participated in a NICHE leadership training program to develop a vision, short- and long-term goals, and an action plan with goals on caring for the elderly patients at Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus. Nurses Hope Siedler, Jennifer Lees and Cris Castaneda along with Wills and Janet Urbanowicz, a nurse educator who works with both hospital campuses worked together to complete the NICHE training program and presented their plan to hospital senior management before applying for designation.
The action plan outlines several goals for the elderly care program at Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus, including making geriatric resource nurses available throughout the hospital; improving patient satisfaction; decreasing length of stay and readmission within 30 days; and improving outcomes in falls and skin integrity.
As the population ages, we must continue to evolve to meet the needs of our patients , said Judy Colorado, RN, BSN, MA, NE-BC, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer, Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus. This designation is demonstrative of our commitment to meeting the distinct and diverse needs of our community and to providing quality care to older adults.
The hospital formed a steering committee led by nurses and comprised of an interdisciplinary team of hospital staff from physicians to social workers to pharmacists and more who will work together to implement the plan.
According to Jessica Israel, MD, section chief, geriatrics and palliative care at Monmouth Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus, focusing on the senior community in Ocean County is more important than ever as seniors those 65 and older are the fastest-growing population in the area.
Due to the complex challenges facing elderly patients, the approach in caring for the elderly is not the same as it is for caring for other patient populations. As a NICHE-designated hospital, we utilize the most up-to-date and best practices, offer evidence-based medicine, and offer an interdisciplinary approach to address seniors unique needs, she said.