Healthcare Professionals Meet in Philadelphia to Showcase Hospital Innovations in the Care of Older Adult Patients

16th Annual NICHE Conference Attracts an Unprecedented 750 Attendees

“Forging New Paths and Partnerships” was the theme of the 16th annual conference convened by NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 10-12, 2013. The conference attracted over 750 nurses and other healthcare professionals from more than 250 NICHE member and non-member U.S. and Canadian hospitals whose shared purpose is to improve the quality of care for hospitalized older adults. The attendance was the largest in the history of the conference. Conference topics included medication management, dementia, palliative care, patient transitions and multi-disciplinary approaches to improving the senior service.

“This event and the unprecedented number of attendees signal an increased concern among healthcare professionals for the safety and health of our older adult patients,” says Liz Capezuti, PhD, RN, FAAN, director - NICHE, Dr. John W. Rowe Professor in Successful Aging, New York University College of Nursing. “The innovative gerontological solutions presented at the conference will equip attendees with a wealth of information to better meet the most critical challenge of our times - quality care of older adults.”

During the three-day conference, the attendees heard from leading gerontology researchers and practitioners about the best practices for care of older adult patients. Four keynotes, 26 panels and over 90 poster presentations described ways to identify, prevent, reduce and manage common geriatric syndromes, as well as systems level approaches to implementing innovations.

Frontline nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers who have successfully implemented the NICHE program at their hospitals conducted panels dealing with certification in gerontological nursing, the hospital environment, dementia, transitions, palliative care, heart failure in older adults and pain management, among others.

Keynote Addresses
AARP’s Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD, senior vice president, director, AARP Public Policy Institute, focused on helping nurses support family caregivers. Sharon K. Inouye, MD, MPH, director, Aging Brain Center at the Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, received a “standing ovation” for her definitive presentation about the state of science of delirium. The medication management and delirium presentation by Nicole Brandt, PharmD, BCPP, CGP, FASCP, associate professor, Geriatric Pharmacotherapy, director of clinical and educational programs, Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, discussed the impact of drugs on cognitive function. Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, MA, FAAN, FPCN, CHPN, professor and research scientist, City of Hope Medical Center, presented on palliative care for geriatric patients with a special emphasis on increasing nursing knowledge about hospice and palliative care issues.

Caregiver Collaborative
NICHE unveiled the “Professional Partners Supporting Diverse Family Caregivers Across Settings” initiative developed in collaboration with the AARP Foundation and the American Journal of Nursing funded by the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation. Five NICHE hospital sites piloted two caregiver resources that are planned for inclusion in a Patient & Family Coordinated Care Toolkit. Attendees heard implementation stories from the chief nursing officer, education director and beside nurse from one of the pilot hospitals that illustrated culture change from the top down and bottom up.

The poster session showcased an array of initiatives and research by NICHE and non-NICHE hospitals. Topics ranged from delirium/dementia, medication and palliative care to innovations dealing with nutrition, orthopedics, safety and sleep.

NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) is the leading nurse-driven program designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults. The vision of NICHE is for all patients 65-and-over to be given sensitive and exemplary care. The mission of NICHE is to provide principles and tools to stimulate a change in the culture of healthcare facilities and achieve patient-centered care for older adults. NICHE, based at NYU College of Nursing, comprises almost 450 hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout North America, engages hospitals and their affiliates in achieving and sustaining the NICHE designation. NICHE designation demonstrates a hospital's organizational commitment and continued progress in improving quality, enhancing the patient and family experience, and supporting the hospital's efforts to serve their communities.


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