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“On the Front Line of Change” was the theme of the 14th annual conference of NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders), held last month in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference brought together 450 nurses, nursing administrators, educators and other healthcare professionals from across the U.S. and Canada, whose shared passion and purpose is to improve the quality of care for hospitalized older adults.
NICHE recently opened a post-conference microsite that features highlights from the gathering. The site can be found here.
Over the course of the two-day conference, the attendees heard from leading researchers and practitioners in gerontology about current evidence-based practices. The presentations described ways to identify, prevent, reduce and manage the incidence of common geriatric syndromes and complications including atypical presentations of disease, dementia, delirium and depression, falls, pressure sores, drug reactions and interactions and functional decline.
They also heard directly from front line nurses who have successfully implemented the NICHE program.
“Bettering care for older patients is a complex challenge that demands the combined dedication, determination and resolve of all the stakeholders in a healthcare facility,” says Marie Boltz, PhD, RN, GNP-BC, associate director, practice, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and assistant professor, NYU College of Nursing. “It’s a commitment to changing hospital practices and culture. And getting those pieces in place requires knowledge, leadership skills, tenacity and a healthy dose of creativity.”
Over 160 NICHE hospitals were represented at the conference, including 64 just-inducted facilities. Representatives from the National Gerontological Nursing Association, Catholic Health Association of the United States, AARP, Sigma Theta Tau, and the Alzheimer's Association St. Louis Chapter were also in attendance.
In all, 23 sessions were presented by a variety of experts and faculty from NICHE hospitals. The panel presentations from NICHE programs addressed relationship-based care, medication and transitional care for older adult patients, among other topics. Strategies of the NICHE program, widely discussed during the conference, included development of organizational and clinical resources, developing models for outcome measurement and advancing research in evidence-based geriatric best practices.
The poster session event at the conference consisted of 76 displays representing an array of initiatives and research by NICHE hospitals. Topics ranged from interdisciplinary team efforts to a patient room motion sensor concept.
NICHE is a national organization designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults. NICHE hospitals seek to create an environment where older adult patients receive care that results in better outcomes. This climate of success encourages patients and their families to seek NICHE designated hospitals for their medical needs. The NICHE Network now numbers nearly 300 hospitals throughout North America.
NICHE is a program of The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at NYU College of Nursing funded in part with generous support from Atlantic Philanthropies and The John A. Hartford Foundation. For more information, visit www.nicheprogram.org.