More than a quarter of the cancer patients who choose City of Hope for treatment are over age 65, and with mounting age come health risks that require specialized care. Now a group of City of Hope nurses will receive unique training that will help them better tend to these patients.
Nurses like Katherine Ilagan, right, may benefit from a new training program. (Photo by Walter Urie)
City of Hope was recently designated a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) hospital by the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. NICHE is a national program driving better care for older adults.
In the first phase of the NICHE program, City of Hope will provide extra training to a core group of geriatric resource nurses who will become leaders and role models to their peers in the care of elderly patients.
“In addition to providing the most advanced medicine, we want to be sure that the specific needs of our older patients are met by the nurses who provide their care,” said Shirley Johnson, R.N., M.S., City of Hope’s chief nursing and patient services officer.
NICHE integrates into City of Hope’s Cancer and Aging Research Program, which teams investigators from all cancer disciplines to study the biology, treatment and survivorship issues relating to older adults with cancer.
“Cancer is primarily a disease of aging, and the majority of patients who are diagnosed with cancer are over the age of 65,” said Arti Hurria, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research and director of City of Hope’s Cancer and Aging Research Program. “With an aging baby boomer generation, it becomes increasingly important
to appropriately meet the health-care needs of older adults.”
Recognizing the national scarcity of geriatric nurses, the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, based at the New York University College of Nursing, launched the NICHE program in 1994. NICHE aims to enhance the care of older people by improving how nurses approach issues such as falls, delirium, restraint use, incontinence, pain, skin breakdown and wounds, use of advance directives and family involvement in decision making.
NICHE is now being implemented in more than 270 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.