Over 13 percent of Americans are over the age of 65, and this percentage is expected to increase to 20 percent by 2050. The rising numbers of elderly citizens has encouraged a number of hospitals to tailor service to those patients. Saint Francis Hospital is the first hospital in Oklahoma to open a special hospital unit designed with the older adult in mind, the Senior Specialty Unit at Saint Francis Hospital.
The senior care movement began in 1992 with a program called Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE). The John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing, a part of New York University, led the initiative. With results like decreased lengths of stay, lower readmission rates and longer time periods between readmission, the NICHE program has succeeded in offering older patients a climate of confidence with respect to their healthcare needs.