JPS is Thinking Ahead to Serve an Aging Local Population

June 1st, 2018

With a rapidly increasing senior population in the Fort Worth area, JPS is attempting to become only the second hospital in the United States to earn Gold Seal of Approval status from The Joint Commission in the area of geriatric delirium care, according to JPS Service Line Administrator Will Callans.

“Geriatric care is an area of great need,” said Callans. “The population in the hospital at JPS is getting older and that’s a trend that’s going to continue in the coming years. Our goal is to train as many nurses as we can to care for older adults.”

 

A group of about 30 nurses met for four hours Friday morning in the OPC auditorium at JPS. There they discussed the process of becoming a geriatric resource nurse, online training available for caregivers to learn about geriatric care, various aspects of care key for senior well-being including proper nutrition and accessing community resources, the JPS Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) and did a case study in delirium.

Team members also discussed the application with The Joint Commission and what to expect when the agency visits to investigate the health network’s delirium programming. JPS submitted its application in April, Callans said. The hospital watchdog organization is expected to visit the health network in the fall.

Delirium is a condition more common in seniors than in any other age group. Often a temporary condition that can be caused by a reaction to medication, fatigue or other factors, medical workers must be trained how to recognize and treat the problem before it can cause permanent damage -- or even death. Seniors with delirium are five times more likely to fall than their peers without the condition, and falls can result in broken bones or even head injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in people 65 years old and older.

Dementia is a gradual, progressive decline in memory and other cognitive skills. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause. In contrast, delirium comes on more suddenly, and symptoms may fluctuate throughout the day and sometimes they’re more obvious than others.

People with delirium may have hallucinations and be unable to stay focused on one topic, easily distracted. They may be hyperactive, thrashing about and striking out, but also may be withdrawn. Their sleep habits may be disturbed. Unlike dementia, delirium can often be reversed once its cause is identified and eliminated.

Nursing interventions include helping patients stay oriented, making sure they know the day of the week and time of day, discouraging sleep during daylight hours, monitoring labs and medications, urging substitutions for drugs associated with delirium and promptly calling for consults when symptoms first appear.

 

While JPS is working to expand its Geriatric Care service line, the health network already offers many services for seniors. They include:

Inpatient Geriatric Consultation Services including complete clinical evaluations of medical, psychological, social and functional status and cognitive evaluation of medication management
Home visits to assist both the patients who receive resources and their caregivers
JPS Magnolia Health Center offers a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists and others who have experience and training to treat adults 60 years of age and older


Share this article!