As a member organization of Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE), UT Southwestern’s interdisciplinary geriatrics team has received national recognition for elderly nursing care. Under the NICHE patient care model, our geriatrics nurses have received “Exemplar” status, signifying the highest level of expertise.
The NICHE designation is the only international designation that reflects a health care organization’s dedication to patient-centered outcomes for elders. The Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit at UT Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital achieved the “Exemplar” designation by displaying excellence in geriatric care services. The ACE Unit uses evidence-based interventions to optimize each patient’s experience and treatment during hospitalization. Within the unit, improved outcomes have included enhanced cognitive results, fewer hospital-acquired complications, and reduced hospital stays.
The ACE Unit at UT Southwestern prioritizes the uniqueness of each patient’s circumstances to address their current health situation. Interdisciplinary interventions include nutritional counseling, post-discharge care, physical therapy, and socialization. The unit’s mission to address the holistic needs of each patient is in alignment with the criteria for the NICHE “Exemplar” status.
Criteria for the distinction include:
- Expanding geriatric care services to meet the needs of older patients and their families
- Providing patient-centered, high-quality, and responsive care
- Supporting people with disabilities
- Improving orthopaedic surgery outcomes
- Identifying and managing delirium
- Strengthening community engagement
The nurse-driven NICHE program strives to create transformational change within the field of geriatrics. This change will enable health care professionals to prioritize inclusive research, techniques, and practices to improve outcomes for older adults. With one of the only ACE Units in the state of Texas, and the only unit in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, UT Southwestern continues to lead as one of the nation’s top hospitals for geriatric care.