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NICHE program

Fort Loudoun Medical Center has earned the NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders) designation from The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing. The designation recognizes Fort Loudoun Medical Center’s ongoing commitment to geriatric nursing care. They are the second hospital in our region to receive this designation and one of only four in the state of Tennessee in a list among Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Knoxville; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville; and Methodist Extended Care Hospital, Memphis, TN.

As the nation’s aging population continues to increase, the NICHE designation and Fort Loudoun’s pledge to quality geriatric care provide assurance to older adults receiving care. “When a patient comes to Fort Loudoun Medical Center, they soon understand and realize we are an elderly-friendly facility,” said Ashley Hankla, Marketing Coordinator for the hospital. “We recognize issues facing the aging population, such as hearing loss, vision, falls, gait and balance and have best practices in place to provide the best possible care. We are on the lookout for age-related changes that patients may be experiencing and promote those issues, thus enhancing our patient care.” According to Hankla, in 2011 about 60 percent of the patients served at Fort Loudoun Medical Center were over age 60.

Established in 1992, NICHE is the only national nursing geriatric initiative to improve the care of older hospitalized adults and the goal is to achieve systematic nursing change that will benefit hospitalized older patients. NICHE provides materials and services necessary to stimulate and support the planning and implementation process. The focus is on programs and protocols that are dominantly under the control of nursing practice; in other words, areas where nursing interventions have a substantive and positive impact on patient care.

For more information on NICHE, visit www.nicheprogram.org. For more information about Fort Loudoun Medical Center’s designation, call (865) 271-6026.