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UHS achieves prestigious ‘Senior-Friendly’ designation

January 02, 2024

A hospital stay can be a source of stress for older adults and their families.  Ensuring that our nurses are well prepared to recognize and meet the unique needs of elderly patients is critically important to UHS, which is why we take part in the “Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE)” program.

“This is a nationwide, nurse-driven program that validates a hospital’s commitment to excellence in the care of patients age 65 or older,” said Peggy Thomas, MSN, RN, CENP, vice president for Nursing and chief nursing officer at UHS Hospitals.  “We are very pleased that, as part of our partnership with NICHE, UHS nurses have access to special training in the care of geriatric patients.”

As a result of several initiatives in place throughout our hospitals, UHS has been designated by NICHE as “Senior-Friendly.”  The 2024 designation shows success in the implementation of high-quality, System-wide initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to the care of older adults, including:

  • Partnership with UHS Trauma Services to prevent injury and set protocols for injured older adults;
  • Partnership with the planning team on the UHS Wilson Project to ensure that the Emergency Department and inpatient units of the new Wilson Main Tower at UHS Wilson Medical Center will reflect aging-sensitive principles to ensure safety, functionality and comfort for older patients;
  • Ensuring elderly patients understand and can follow instructions for care that are established in their discharge plan;
  • Establishing an open line of communication with family caregivers and providing them with the information and education they need to care for elderly patients at home.

Similarly, primary care offices of UHS Hospitals have earned designations as “4M Age-Friendly Health System Committed to Care Excellence” practices from the nationally renowned Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Healthcare Association of New York State.  This designation lets patients know that older adults matter to us.  UHS Hospitals’ age-friendly designation aligns with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive order creating the state’s first-ever “master plan for aging.” 

For more information about NICHE, visit nicheprogram.org.