Family Centered Geriatric Care: Staff Perceptions of the Organization's Response to Older Patients and their Family Members

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Moreen Donahue, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN1
Lisa Smith, DNP, MSN, RN1
Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, APRN, FAAN2
Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN3
(1)Nursing Administration, Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT
(2)School of Nursing, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
(3)Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Learning Objective 1: Describe a continuing education program focused on preparing nursing staff to deliver family centered geriatric care.

Learning Objective 2: Identify the nursing staff members' perceptions of the organization's involvement of both geriatric patients and their family care givers in the care provided in hospital.

Purpose: This geriatric education project had as the overall goal the preparation of nursing staff, including Registered Nurses (RNs) and nursing assistants (NAs) to provide family centered geriatric care. The rationale for the program was twofold: the increased incidence of older adults who are hospitalized and the lack of specialized preparation among nursing staff to care for elderly hospitalized persons.

Methods: A series of continuing education sessions were held for RNs and NAs. Although participation was voluntary, staff members were encouraged to attend, and provisions were made to have the participants attend sessions as part of an educational benefit.

Results: A significant measure of the success of the program was nursing staff responses on the Patient and Family Centered Care Assessment Questionnaire. This instrument was developed by the National Institute for Family Centered Care (IFCC) to assess the organization’s overall response to family members of patients. At the end of the first year of program implementation, 147 staff members (101 RNs and 45 NAs) completed the assessment. The results were extremely positive: 96% indicated that the organization’s policies and practices demonstrate respect for older persons and their families; 88% indicated that older persons and their families were encouraged to participate in care and decision making; and 87.7% indicated that patients and their families were adequately prepared for transitions from home to hospital and return home.

Conclusions: While it is not possible to determine that the educational program alone led to the positive attitudes and understandings of family centered geriatric care, the results are of great importance to both the nurse leaders, the hospital executives, and most importantly, to the patients and families served. We are continuing to monitor the change in culture and expect that the positive environment will persist as more nursing staff members participate in the program.