Two MGH nurses working in a mentor/mentee partnership are creating an innovative program to advance the care of older adults. Deborah D'Avolio, APRN-BC, PhD, (far left) geriatric specialist for Patient Care Services, is serving as a mentor to Susan Gordon, APRN-BC, (on right) nursing director for Ellison 16. The two are creating an interdisciplinary collaboration to develop a new type of rounding process to disseminate best practices for the care of geriatric patients. Called "Geriatric Rounds to Evaluate, Assess and Teach" (G.R.E.A.T.), the project is based on evidence that common geriatric syndromes often are preventable and may signal a need for further
assessment and intervention.
"In the next 30 years, the number of people over the age of 62 is projected to double from 40 to 80 million," says Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, MS, FAAN, senior vice president for Patient Care and chief nurse. "This significant initiative is part of the hospital's commitment to provide the best care, tailored to the particular needs of the older patient."
In 2004, the MGH became the first hospital in Massachusetts to be designated a John A. Hartford Foundation Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders (NICHE) site. The hospital went on to create its MGH 65plus program, which is dedicated to improving systems of care for older adults. The G.R.E.A.T. project is being conducted in partnership with 65plus, following successful pilots of geriatric care initiatives conducted on Gordon's patient care unit.
The G.R.E.A.T. project is part of the 18-month Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy offered by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. The academy – funded by the Hartford Foundation and in partnership with the foundationÕs Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence Ð was developed to prepare, position and recognize the ability of nurses to influence practice and patient outcomes in geriatric health care. The training will enable nurses to lead interprofessional teams to improve the quality of health care for older adults and their families.
The inaugural Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy began in June 2008. Participants represent 11 states and a diverse range of practice settings and credentials, from bachelor of nursing to doctoral degrees.