November 2015 Edition - Health Matters

Health Matters The latest news on the health and wellness issues that matter most • November 2015

NCH Brookdale Geriatric Center

T hat is the number of people who make up the “baby boomer” generation – born between 1946 and 1964 to post-World War II Americans. As hospitals and health care facilities nationwide gear up to accommodate the medical needs of this massive and aging population, the Brookdale Geriatric Center at the NCH Healthcare System continues to grow its health and social services programs for elder adults. It is estimated that roughly 10,000 people now qualify for Medicare benefits each and every day. And the number of healthcare consumers aged 85 and over is predicted to grow by 185 percent by 2050 here in Collier County. “From a civic perspective, we asked what we could do to help the community live longer, healthier and happy lives and promote sustainability in their homes, so they would not find themselves in their latter years dependent on the healthcare system or institutionalized, which we cannot afford,” said Heather Baker, executive director of the NCH Brookdale Geriatric Center. Baker explained that the geriatric initiative is not only hospital-based, but links with existing community resources that help elder residents stay in their homes, an approach known as “aging in place.” In an effort to improve access to healthcare services and programs for aging seniors, the NCH Brookdale Geriatric Center will soon introduce a “geriatric navigator,” who will act as a specific resource for people within the healthcare system and in the community. Among the services and programs available through the Brookdale Geriatric Center is a roster of geriatricians on the medical staff at NCH, who specialize in the care of aging adults. Although the roster lists seven such qualified professionals as of this writing, the center is currently seeking to recruit additional specialists in this field. Other programs include community education offerings, such as the recently launched “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” classes; community program information; palliative services; specialty wellness programs such as those for stroke rehabilitation, back pain, osteoporosis, and water aerobics for multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease patients. “Plans include participation in a leadership-training program GEARS UP TO MEET THE NEEDS OF AN AGING POPULATION 75 million

TENETS OF GERONTOLOGICAL NURSING* • Providing guidance and care that respects human dignity and individual uniqueness • Assistance with the highest level of functioning • Contributing to the positive, realistic and accurate perceptions of aging to the community • Collaborating within health, social, political cultural and spiritual systems to

eliminate barriers and stereotyping of older adults • Assistance with minimizing health risks through: ✔ taking personal responsibility for one’s health ✔ education about the factors affecting aging ✔ taking precautions to minimize risk ✔ education about the benefits of exercise

✔ education that all body systems are to some extent affected by aging ✔ recognition that older adults live independently in community settings *Paraphrased from “Scope and Standards of Gerontological Nursing Practice,” 2 nd Edition, 2001

with “Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders” (NICHE). By becoming a NICHE designated healthcare system, NCH will be able to implement proven strategies and methods to address issues specific to older patients,” said Baker. “Within one year, we will launch an education program on geriatric medicine for all NCH’s employees.” Baker said that NCH recognizes its role in a community with a large number of geriatric-aged patients. “This will lead to improved patient outcomes and raise patient and family satisfaction levels,” she said.

For more information about the NCH Brookdale Geriatric Center contact NCH’s Access Healthline at (239) 624-1999 or visit

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