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Hospital achieves “Senior Friendly” status

– Focuses on improving care for older adult patients &ndash

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (March 14, 2013) - Saint Peter’s University Hospital has achieved “Senior Friendly” status for its NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) program. NICHE hospitals such as Saint Peter’s commit to excellence in the care of patients 65 years and older.

Hospital achieves “Senior Friendly” status.

Shira Goldberg, M.D., left, a Saint Peter’s Healthcare System geriatrician, shares a laugh with Mary Notaro, 83, of Monroe during a physical exam at the Saint Peter’s Comprehensive Care Group in Monroe.

The “Senior Friendly” status recognizes that Saint Peter’s has put in place a variety of programs such as “Care Companions” and “Silver Spoons” to assist senior patients. The first program calls for volunteers to keep elder patients company. The second program provides assistance during meals. Additionally, the hospital has invested time and resources to:

  • implement the NICHE Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model,
  • develop aging-sensitive policies and
  • obtain input of patients, families and community-based providers in planning and implementation of NICHE initiatives.

Seniors can be at risk for certain conditions including anxiety, dementia, depression, falls, incontinence, osteoporosis, and pain. In addition to NICHE initiatives, Saint Peter’s integrated outpatient geriatric medicine program specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and the maintenance of good health and quality of life.

Saint Peter’s is also designated as a primary stroke center. The hospital is staffed by a specialized stroke team that includes emergency physicians, neurologists and nurses with special training in acute stroke management who are available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

Programs and Services

The vision of NICHE is for all patients 65 and older to be given sensitive and exemplary care. The Geriatric Resource Nurse model, an educational and clinical intervention initiative, calls for NICHE hospitals to train staff nurses as clinical resource persons on geriatric issues for other nurses on their unit. Based at New York University Hospital, NICHE is an international program designed to help hospitals improve the care of older adults.

“The NICHE designation and the ‘Senior Friendly’ status are proof of our commitment to quality, patient-centered care for older adults,” says Linda Carroll, MSN, RN-BC, director of professional practice and clinical education and nursing research education at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. “Our participation in the NICHE program allows us to continually maintain the high standard of care that has always been available at Saint Peter’s. This leads to greater satisfaction rates for our patients, their families and our staff.”

In the United States, 8,000 people turn 65 every day. By the end of 2011, the senior population of America reached nearly 49 million. By 2025, it is expected to grow to nearly 72 million, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State Department.

As people age, their medical issues tend to become more complex, explains Saint Peter’s geriatrician Shira Goldberg, M.D. “When developing a care plan for geriatric patients, physicians must use an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates not only medical but also the patient’s social and psychological needs. A patient’s values and preferences need to be investigated and integrated into their individualized treatment plan.”

An interdisciplinary team of board-certified physicians and health care professionals, all of whom are trained in geriatric medicine, works with patients and their families to develop a comprehensive plan of care for improved overall quality of life.

Areas of specialty at Saint Peter’s include: diabetes; diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety; diagnosis and treatment of memory loss; hormone replacement therapy; minimally invasive surgery; nutrition; orthopedic services including hip resurfacing and knee replacement; pain management; promoting and maintaining health, strength and functional abilities, and wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for non-healing chronic wounds.

Outpatient services at Saint Peter’s include geriatric evaluation and management services (GEMS), a comprehensive assessment program that helps health care professionals diagnose and develop a plan of care for patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The Wound Care Center® and Hyperbaric Services at Saint Peter’s University Hospital counts among the specialty services provided for seniors. With locations in Saint Peter’s Center for Ambulatory Resources in New Brunswick and in a new facility in Monroe Township, the center is a leader in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of chronic non-healing wounds. Patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team of board-certified physicians that includes general surgeons, vascular surgeons, plastic surgeons, internists, geriatricians, infectious disease specialists, physiatrists, and clinical wound specialists.

The hospital’s three Comprehensive Care Group medical practices – in New Brunswick, Piscataway, and at the new Monroe Township facility – focus on providing primary and specialty care for seniors as well as resources for their caregivers. With a focus on quality of life, the goal is to provide patients with services and programs that help to maintain their health, and independence, and enhance their daily living.

Other outpatient resources include:

  • Saint Peter’s Adult Day Center at Monroe Township
  • Margaret McLaughlin McCarrick Care Center, a not-for-profit skilled nursing facility in Somerset
  • Community Nursing Services such as onsite nursing, blood pressure checks and educational programs at a number of adult communities in Monroe Township

Visit to learn more about our geriatric services. To find a doctor affiliated with Saint Peter’s visit

About Saint Peter's Healthcare System
Saint Peter's Healthcare System Inc., parent company of the Saint Peter's healthcare delivery system, is comprised of Saint Peter's University Hospital, a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital; Saint Peter's Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital; and Saint Peter's Health and Management Services Corporation, which oversees the system's outpatient facilities. These include the CARES Surgicenter; New Brunswick Cardiac Cath Lab; Community Care Services, Inc.; the Margaret McLaughlin McCarrick Care Center, Inc., a residential skilled nursing facility in Somerset; and Saint Peter's Adult Day Center in Monroe Township. Saint Peter's Healthcare System is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. For more information about Saint Peter's Healthcare System, please visit or call 732-745-8600.


Philip Hartman
Director of Public Relations
Saint Peter's Healthcare System
New Brunswick, N.J.