Wesley Healthcare March 05, 2015

WICHITA – Galichia Heart Hospital, a campus of Wesley Medical Center, continues to ramp up its commitment to excellent elder care with the addition of its first geriatric nurse navigator and NICHE coordinator role.

Galichia is the only hospital in Kansas to achieve NICHE certification – which stands for Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders – cementing its commitment to excellence in caring for elderly patients.

Former emergency room nurse Meg Gaston is now Galichia's geriatric nurse navigator and NICHE coordinator, focusing on patient needs for extended care, relationships with long-term care facilities and pairing up patients and their families with community resources. She'll also coordinate education on elderly issues within the hospital setting and work to improve physician coordination and communication.

These are important issues at Galichia, where about 75 percent of Galichia's patients are 65 years or older, Gaston said. Many of these patients require special care when handling everything from nutrition to discharge instructions.

“Our senior population has special needs when they are hospitalized,” Gaston said. "Medications affect them differently, they have different mobility challenges. There’s a lot we can do from a clinical standpoint to improve outcomes and satisfaction for our elderly patients and their families.”

By 2050, the older adult population will number nearly 89 million, more than double the current population, national statistics show. By 2030, healthcare expenditures will increase by 25 percent for older adults and Medicare spending will go from $555 billion yearly to $903 billion by 2020.

That means hospitals will continue to be challenged with staying ahead of the curve when it comes to carrying for elderly patients. To meet those needs, care teams at Galichia are focusing on educational components such as delirium and what nursing interventions can be done to decrease, prevent or alleviate those symptoms.

"Caring for our senior patients is truly a team effort," Gaston said. "We provide exemplary care to all of our patients. We are doing a great job of that now, but we're going to bring it to the next level."

For more information about Galichia Heart Hospital and its services, please visit www.wesleymc.com.

Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WESLEYCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.