Nurses Meet Unique Elder Care Needs

Mount Vernon House Supports Winchester’s Commitment to NICHE

Elderly patients being admitted to Winchester Hospital have extra reasons to feel secure that their care will be exceptional: In 2015, it became a Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) hospital. Being a NICHE hospital means it is proactively and fully dedicated to providing elders with sensitive and exemplary care.

Elders are often confronted with chronic and complex health care needs. Winchester Hospital nurses know to keep an eye on issues that can uniquely affect this population, such as medication interactions, confusion, pain management, anxiety and general fragility. Importantly, NICHE facilities have shown improved outcomes for patients as well as higher satisfaction for both patients and staff.

Designed for Elders

Believing wholeheartedly in the widespread benefits of this program, the Winchester Mount Vernon House has been a generous financial supporter of NICHE, sponsoring important education and training. Cathie Jackson, Executive Director of the assisted living facility for the last 20 years and previously a nurse at Winchester Hospital, has seen firsthand the unique health care needs of seniors as they age.

“When elders present at an emergency room or are admitted, they may have multiple conditions all needing attention. Their care may be further complicated by hearing and sight deficits plus difficulty in expressing complaints. And more and more commonly, their family members may live far away. The value of training front-line nurses to be alert and sensitive to these special issues is immense,” Jackson explained. “That is why I approached our board for this cause, and they enthusiastically endorsed Winchester Hospital’s NICHE initiative. The Mount Vernon House is proud of our long history of giving back to our community. And I am thrilled that our local seniors have access to a NICHE hospital!”

An Enduring Commitment to a Growing Population

While receiving this national designation required additional work on the part of Winchester Hospital nurses, they welcomed the challenge—indeed, they led the initiative to begin the NICHE journey. They are also at the forefront of maintaining the designation moving forward. As a NICHE hospital, Winchester is committed to demonstrating improvement in processes and practices each and every year. It is an enduring commitment to the culture of care the nurses and the entire organization are driven to provide.

Addressing the unique needs of people ages 65 and older is becoming increasingly important as the baby boom generation matures. In 2000, Americans in this age group totaled 35 million; that number is expected to balloon to 70 million by 2030. Right now, more than half of Winchester Hospital’s inpatients are seniors. As part of their NICHE commitment, many nurses have studied gerontology and received their nursing certification in this specialty.

All of Winchester’s patients deserve the very best care possible, so that is why the hospital made a commitment to alertly and thoughtfully address the special needs of our older patient population and their families. When elderly patients come to Winchester Hospital, they and their loved ones can have an added measure of security knowing that their care will be NICHE-inspired—exemplary and sensitive to their unique needs. With the vital support of the Mount Vernon House, we can all count on it.