Dupont Hospital Recognized for Excellence in Elder Care


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News release from the Lutheran Health Network:

Dupont Hospital Recognized for Excellence in Elder Care
One of Six Hospitals in Indiana to Earn NICHE Designation

(November 24, 2014) – Dupont Hospital is one of only six hospitals in Indiana to receive the Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders designation, which emphasizes a hospital’s commitment to excellence in elder care. The effort to implement NICHE practices at Dupont began in earnest this spring.

The national NICHE agenda provides the largest geriatric nursing program available. Just last week, 11 registered nurses at Dupont completed one month of intensive training and coursework to achieve an esteemed title of geriatric resource nurse. The training has empowered these nurses to become subject matter experts for their specific units on various issues that impact seniors. NICHE supplies evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches that promote positive experiences for older adults. Older adults have reported greater satisfaction rates, as have their families, in NICHE designated hospitals.

“In our opinion, the formal NICHE designation is the gold standard,” said Theresa Shull, RN, CEN, emergency department and chest pain coordinator, NICHE coordinator. “NICHE stood out above other designations primarily because it relies on evidence-based practices to achieve patient-centered care for older adults. It is a priority for Dupont Hospital to improve our service for this fast growing population.”

Shull has led Dupont’s development of the geriatric resource nurse model. Dupont completed a hospital-wide Geriatric Institutional Assessment Profile provided by NICHE, measuring perceptions of skills, attitudes and knowledge of the older adult. The intent of the survey, conducted in both inpatient and outpatient areas, was to hone in on education—recognize deficits, strengths and areas for growth.

Members of Lutheran Health Network’s Senior Circle program visited Dupont this summer as an advisory panel to assess important issues for older adults. The hospital plans to continue inviting them to help assess the facility on a quarterly basis as part of its ongoing efforts to reach this patient population.

More training for Dupont team members is planned with guest presenters including a specialist on dementia, understanding hospice care options, an in-service provided by the Northeast Indiana Coalition for Advance Care Planning, and many other related subjects.

Dupont’s NICHE team has reached out to long-term care and assisted living facilities to discuss opportunities to improve continuity of care for patients. Dupont nurses also plan to partner with the leadership teams at some of these facilities to develop and offer specialty education topics to their staff nurses. Some of these topics include chronic disease management and palliative care.

Several changes have occurred at Dupont Hospital as a result of NICHE. Some enhancements include upgraded mattresses added to the emergency department; improved campus visibility—ER red stripe was repainted; and more communication to seniors about valet parking, a free and safe service for all Dupont Hospital guests and visitors.

The emergency department was selected as the pilot unit to begin NICHE implementation whereby the team is developing and refining processes over a span of 18 months to two years. Shull expects NICHE practices to be integrated throughout the entire hospital by 2016.


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