Tampa, FL (Nov. 17, 2015) – An academic nursing program created to help hospitals improve medical care for older adults has awarded Tampa General Hospital (TGH) its highest designation for comprehensive care of the elderly.
TGH is the only hospital in Hillsborough County – and one of only five in Florida – to earn this designation from the Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) organization. NICHE, based at NYU College of Nursing, is the leading nurse-driven program dedicated to helping hospitals improve the care of older adults. The exemplar status awarded to TGH – the highest of four program levels – was granted after a rigorous evaluation of the current and future goals of the hospital’s NICHE program for older patients, defined as those who are 65 years old or older.
A main focus of TGH’s NICHE program is encouraging nurses to become trained Geriatric Resource Nurses (GRN’s) through the NICHE organization. Nurses who earn the GRN designation have the knowledge and experience to care for older patients, said Robin Atkins, TGH’s NICHE program coordinator. They are able to identify and understand syndromes unique to geriatric patients and share the most current knowledge in caring for older patients with their units’ staff, she said. Having a NICHE program shows there is an organizational commitment to improving quality, enhancing the patient and family experience and supporting the hospital’s efforts to serve older adults, Atkins said.