CLINTON, MD - MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is proud to announce it has earned NICHE Level 4 status for its exemplary care of elderly patients.
NICHE stands for Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders. Hospitals achieve NICHE rankings by completing tasks and working together to improve geriatric care. To achieve high rankings, hospitals create interdisciplinary teams that provide support and education to nurses and other associates on how to best serve elderly patients.
“We are very proud to be able to provide this level of service to our patients, their families and our community,” says Pat Scalfari, MSN, RN, Vice President, Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer. “Through this coordinated approach to care we are better able to meet our elders’ needs while they are hospitalized, as well as facilitate a smooth transition back out into the community.”
Some of the measures undertaken at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center to earn this ranking include improvements in mobility for elderly patients, obtaining walkers and gait belts to assist in walking and to prevent falls, providing raised toilet seats to assist patients who would be unable to stand after using a lower seat and painting doors in contrasting colors to make it easier for patients with decreased eyesight to orient themselves.
“Most of our patients are older adults,” says Anne Johnson, BSN, RN, Director of 2North/2South/3East. “We want to make sure they have the best patient experience possible. We want to take care of their unique needs and it takes our whole team, from nurses, to the pharmacy, to rehab, to patient relations to our wound care team to the dietary department.”
The NICHE team at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center also recently hosted a NICHE Fair for hospital associates. This fair featured booths created by various hospital departments to educate associates on elderly patient issues, including mobility and prevention of falls.
“We want to make sure elderly care is at the forefront of the minds of our associates,” said Johnson. “We want to provide education and resources and we had a great response to our second annual fair.”
NICHE status is ranked by a New York University-based program through its Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Its NICHE program exceeds 700 member organizations in five countries with more than 56,000 individuals participating in efforts to improve care for older patients.
Level 4 status is the highest ranking possible. “This achievement was possible because of our interdisciplinary team and the hard work of all of our associates” says Karen Elliott MHA, RN, Senior Nursing Director and NICHE Coordinator.
In the future, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center will be subjected to audits to make sure the hospital continues to maintain Level 4 standards. The hospital began its NICHE journey in 2013 and steadily rose in rankings before achieving Level 4 “Exemplar Status” this summer.
About MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center:
MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is a 182-bed acute care hospital located in Clinton, Maryland. The hospital was founded in 1977 and joined MedStar Health in December, 2012. We are focused on caring for patients and their loved ones utilizing advanced technology under the guidance of expert clinicians. Quality, Safety, Wellness, and Patient Satisfaction are achieved through a spirit of patient centered services that connect us to the community we serve.