Hospital use by people ages 65 and older has increased substantially. The percentage of discharged patients in this age group rose from 20% in 1970 to 38% in 2002, while the percentage of discharged patients younger than 65 either decreased or did not rise. In 2002 patients ages 65 and older accounted for 45% of hospital days of care; the average length of stay was 5.8 days, longer than in any other age group. This Nursing Counts describes NICHE, a program designed to respond to the special needs of hospitalized older adults.
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