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Inova Fairfax Hospital Achieves NICHE “Exemplar” Status for Its Efforts to Improve Care for Older Adult Patients

Media Contact: Tony Raker (703) 645-2736

FALLS CHURCH, VA (October 21, 2013) – Inova Fairfax Hospital announces it has achieved “Exemplar” status for its NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) program. NICHE is the premier designation indicating a hospital’s commitment to excellence in the care of patients 65-years-and-older. The “Exemplar” status recognizes Inova Fairfax Hospital’s ongoing, high-level dedication to geriatric care and pre-eminence in the implementation and quality of system-wide interventions and initiatives that demonstrate organizational commitment to the care of older adults.

The “Exemplar” status — the highest of four possible program levels — was assigned following a rigorous self-evaluation of the current state and future goals of the NICHE program at Inova Fairfax Hospital. The requirements include implementation of the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model and evidence-based protocols on all applicable units, including specialty units; implementation of systemic aging-sensitive policies; inclusion of the input of patient, families, and community-based providers in planning and implementation of NICHE initiatives; and assuming regional and national leadership roles.

“The NICHE designation and the “Exemplar” status signal our resolve to provide patient-centered care for older adults,” says Joy B. Solomita, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, Interim Chief Nursing Officer.  “Through our participation in the NICHE program we are able to offer evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches that promote better outcomes, positive experiences, and improved care for the older adults in our care. This leads to greater satisfaction rates for our patients, their families and our staff.”

The Annual Program Self-Evaluation is used by hospitals to determine the level of their NICHE program. The evaluation benchmarks program progress year-to-year, targets future care initiatives and provides data to use in gaining and sustaining support from institution stakeholders.

“Inova Fairfax Hospital’s evaluation demonstrated a tremendous ability to meet the needs of the older adult patient,” says Liz Capezuti, PhD, RN, FAAN, director, Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders – NICHE, Dr. John W. Rowe Professor in Successful Aging, New York University College of Nursing. “The hospital’s high intensity level in marshalling geriatric nursing resources and support to enhance care marks it as a leader in the field.”

NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) is an international 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 to achieve patient-centered care for older adults. NICHE, based at NYU College of Nursing, consists of over 500 hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout North America.

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