Duke Nurses Improving Care of Healthsystem Elders
(Duke-NICHE): Our journey from Geriatric Resource Nurses, Improved Systems of Care, to Geriatric Resource Teams
in the Community

For over a decade, Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) faculty, students and staff have been collaborating with the Duke University Health System (DUHS) to support nursing-led improvements in care of older adults. Beginning in 2005, under the leadership of Dr. Eleanor McConnell, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, faculty, students, and staff developed a white paper describing the potential for improved care through collaboration between the School of Nursing and DUHS that was endorsed by DUHS chief nursing officer Mary Ann Fuchs, DNP. We have summarized that experience in a paper in Nursing Outlook.

Since that time, Duke NICHE has grown from a focus on strengthening staff nurse competence in geriatrics using the geriatric resource nurse (GRN) model to leading system-level improvements of care, under the leadership of Loretta Matters, MSN, RN, Duke NICHE Director, and the Duke NICHE steering committee, led by Dr. Vicky Orto, Chief Nursing Officer for Duke Regional Hospital. Here is a summary of the Duke NICHE presentations at the 2016 Annual Meeting, including one that describes a collaboration between Duke NICHE and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association focused on helping staff hold “difficult conversations” when someone is near the end of life.

For the past two years, Duke NICHE has collaborated with the Duke Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), a federally funded geriatric workforce initiative that aims to collaborate with the community to provide patient-centered, coordinated health care for seniors regionally, locally and nationally. Building on our experience with the GRN model, we are now partnering with primary care practices in our region to develop geriatric resource teams, so that providers who are caring for older adults have access to the latest information about care innovations to improve outcomes. We expect that these primary care teams will expand access to “state of the art” geriatrics care, as teams learn critically important skills such as how to more effectively recognize dementia, and refer to necessary resources, or how better to engage older adults and their family members in advance care planning.

As part of that work, we are partnering with a variety of community groups, including the Durham Community Resource Connections for Aging & Disabilities, and an innovative local non-profit organization, Senior PharmAssist to highlight community resources that can support care of older adults who are experiencing transitions in care, caring for someone with dementia, or older adults who need help with medication management.


Show originally aired April 17, 2017




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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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