PALMER – On the heels of being named one of the nation’s top performing hospitals by The Joint Commission, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center (MSRMC) has earned the NICHE designation, recognizing the hospital’s commitment to excellent care for elderly patients.
With this achievement, MSRMC moves to the forefront of care for senior citizens, becoming the only hospital in Alaska to earn this distinction.
NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) is the sole national nursing designation that recognizes a hospital’s commitment to elder care excellence. MSRMC is among an elite number of only 575 hospitals and healthcare facilities – internationally – to have earned NICHE designation.
The goal of NICHE is to achieve systematic nursing change that benefits hospitalized older patients. As the nation’s aging population continues to rise, a hospital’s ability to diagnose and care for older patients will become critical, according to Emily Stevens, MSN, Mat-Su Regional’s chief nursing officer.
“NICHE designation signifies our dedication to providing patient-centered care for older adults,” Stevens said. “This is essentially our pledge to the community to deliver exceptional care for our senior population,” Stevens said. “In doing so, we acknowledge that the needs of older patients differ from younger patients, and we have designed care protocols to address those specific needs.”
When a patient arrives at Mat-Su Regional they may not be aware of the hospital’s NICHE designation, Stevens said, but they soon realize it is an elderly-friendly facility. “We know the issues our seniors face, and are on the lookout for age-related changes that patients may be experiencing.” Some of those issues include impaired vision and hearing, reduced mobility and an increased risk of falling.
“Through our participation in the NICHE program we are able to offer evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches that promote better outcomes and improved care for older adults,” Stevens added. According to the National Institute on Aging statistics, 10,000 people a day are turning 65 and 100 citizens a day turn 100 years of age.
“This is particularly meaningful given that Mat-Su has one of the fastest growing senior populations in Alaska and the U.S.,” said Elizabeth Ripley, Executive Director of Mat-Su Health Foundation. “Mat-Su is one of two places in the state where more seniors are moving in than moving out. They will appreciate the steps that the hospital has taken to address their needs.”
“Mat-Su Regional Medical Center shows a tremendous commitment to meet the most critical challenge of our times – quality care of older adults,” said Barbara Bricoli, MPA, Executive Director – NICHE. “The hospital’s dedication to drive continuous improvement processes and enhance care marks them as leaders in the field.”
In November, MSRMC was named a 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by the Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accreditor of healthcare organizations. This is the second consecutive year the hospital earned this honor. Stevens said NICHE designation is another milestone in the hospital’s quest to provide exceptional care for the community.
Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is a 74-bed state-of-the-art healthcare facility that provides advanced surgical service, including robotics and anterior approach hip replacement, cardiac care, intensive and general medical care, emergency services, the state’s only epilepsy monitoring program, diagnostic imaging, a sleep lab, an urgent care center, and is home to the Family Birthing Center. In addition to Joint Commission recognition, the hospital has earned Mountain Pacific’s Highest Quality Care Award four consecutive years and was chosen as one of “150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare,” by Becker’s Hospital Review.
2500 South Woodworth Loop
Palmer, AK 99645