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Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders (NICHE)

A better hospital experience

The NICHE program began at ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital to improve the hospital experience of our older adult patients and their families. More than 58 percent of our patients are over the age of 65 and face a variety of health risks specific to elders. Through this program, we'll undertake a number of steps to recognize and prevent or treat these health problems.

ProHealth Waukesha Memorial was the was the first hospital in Wisconsin to become a NICHE site in 1999. The Medical/Surgical and Rehab units adopted the Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model shortly thereafter. Since that time, the GRN model has expanded into other areas of the hospital, including the Heart Care unit, the Geropsychiatric unit and the Day Surgery department.

Our geriatric nursing staff

NICHE offers the Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model to enhance the knowledge of staff nurses. In the GRN model, staff nurses receive additional education in geriatric nursing care; they then help other nurses with care coordination, provide consultation at the bedside, and model best practice.

The staff at ProHealth Waukesha Memorial includes:

  • 78 geriatric registered nurses (GRNs)
  • 18 certified gerontological nurses
  • 17 certified nursing assistants who are geriatric resource assistants

In addition, there is ongoing staff education throughout the year that is provided by the GRNs. 

Program goals

The purpose of the NICHE program and the GRN model at ProHealth Waukesha Memorial is to improve the hospital experience of our older adult patients and their families by providing "Best Care" practice for their age specific, self-identified and unique needs. 

The objectives include:

  • To improve/maintain the functional independence of our older adult patients
  • To provide education to clinical nursing staff on older adult cares issues
  • To promote the Geriatric Resource Nurse as a resource for the hospital
  • To prepare and maintain a facility environment that is conducive to safety and healing

For more information