St. Mary Mercy Livonia - on the Forefront of Senior Care 05/02/2011 People are living longer than they have ever lived: by 2030 one in five Americans will be 65 or older compared to one in nine now. Additionally, the number of people who are 85 and older will double in size in the same time frame. As the senior population grows, health care institutions must adapt to meet the growing demands of an aging population.
St. Mary Mercy has made a commitment to enhance patient-centered care for our older adults with a recent designation as a NICHE hospital. A program of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing, the goal of NICHE (which stands for Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) is to achieve systematic nursing change that will benefit hospitalized older patients.
“The NICHE designation signals our resolve to provide patient-centered care for older adults across the continuum of care; from emergency services to hospice, and everything in between,” says Joanne Grosh, director of senior services for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.
NICHE is the largest geriatric nursing program available and the only national designation indicating a hospital's commitment to elder care excellence. With participation in NICHE, hospitals create an environment where older adult patients are cared for in ways that foster better outcomes and promote positive experiences while also meeting the patients’ unique needs. This climate of success encourages patients and their families to seek NICHE designated hospitals for their medical needs.
“As part of our first year commitment to the NICHE program, we’ve developed a plan that includes enhanced education of all levels of staff and opportunities for professional specialization and staff certification,” says Carrie Hays-McElroy, Service Line Administrator for Senior Services at St. Mary Mercy Livonia. St. Mary Mercy is among 300 designated NICHE hospitals throughout North America. The collaborative nature of this network is vital, allowing leading experts and practitioners to share knowledge, experiences and best practices to improve elder care.
“Utilizing the training, tools and resources offered through NICHE we aim to advance our care to seniors to the next level. Our goals are to enhance the care we currently provide to our seniors through better understanding their needs,” says Hays-McElroy. “It is caring for the patient’s body, mind and spirit. As a result, we look to provide improved clinical outcomes as well as greater patient and family satisfaction,” she adds.
This commitment to serving seniors better coordinates with care provided in St. Mary Mercy’s new Senior Emergency Department for patients aged 65 and older. St. Mary Mercy Livonia was the first of the eight Saint Joseph Mercy Health System locations and the first in the state of Michigan to open a Senior ER.
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland have also received the NICHE designation this year, while Chelsea Community Hospital received its re-designation; all hospitals are members of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. For more information about NICHE, visit www.nicheprogram.org, or for more information about St. Mary Mercy’s Senior ER, visit stmarymercy.org.