Northwest Community Hospital Participates in Nationwide AgeWISE Pilot

Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) is one of 12 hospitals in the nation (and only two in Illinois) participating in a patient-centered care pilot program called AgeWISE. This six-month nurse residency program prepares registered nurses to meet the needs of hospitalized older adults, especially those who are frail, suffering from chronic illness or an age-related condition. Twenty-four NCH nurses are participating in the program; with the first group of 12 nurse residents graduating from the program on Aug. 23, 2012. The next session begins this fall.

Congratulations to the following nurses who recently graduated from the AgeWISE pilot program:

Pam Amatore, RN, Oncology
Vicki Bauer, RN, Medical-Pulmonary
Lisa Consolazio, RN, Oncology
Jennifer Fallucca, RN, Float Pool
Sophia German, RN, Medical-Pulmonary
Christa Goldberg, RN, Medical-Pulmonary
Velina Maximova, RN, Medical-Renal
Janet Perry, RN, Medical-Pulmonary
Shiny Shibu, RN, Float Pool
Jean Ugarte, RN, Oncology
Jessica Vargas, RN, Oncology
Jessica Wirtz, RN, Medical-Pulmonary

Traditionally, most nurses have had minimal geriatric training, a specialty that focuses on caring for the elderly, and many nurses have not been exposed to the benefits of palliative care, which is a newer specialty that helps alleviate suffering and improve quality of life.

The AgeWISE program, which focuses on “geropalliative” care, helps to fill these gaps by training nurses to recognize the special needs of elderly patients. Symptom management, issues related to progressive or age-related conditions, and physical, psychological and practical burdens of illness are all concerns addressed through this program.

“AgeWISE focuses on providing the best possible care to our older adults – our most vulnerable population,” says Donna Boyd, RN, MS, CHPN, APN, clinical nurse specialist, Gerontological Nursing at NCH. “Much of what occurs is preventable and, with this program in place, more of our elderly patients will have access to the specialized care they need resulting in fewer complications and shorter hospital stays.”

In order to be selected to participate in this pilot, hospitals had to meet several criteria that reflected the high level of quality care they provide, including Magnet® hospital designation for nursing excellence and hospital membership in NICHE (Nurses Improving Care to Healthsystem Elders). NCH has been a Magnet designated hospital since 2006. Only six percent of hospitals nationwide achieve Magnet status.