Monday, May 13, 2013

Nurses' Home Visits Decrease Postpartum Depression

Nurses' knowledge and skills can often serve patients well after they've been discharged from the hospital. A new study in the current issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing finds an additional instance in which nurses can provide post-discharge care and improve outcomes for patients: reducing the incidence of postpartum depression in new mothers. The study findings were also reported in Advance for Nurses.

According to the study, led by June Andrews Horowitz at the William Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, nurses who visited new mothers and provided a sympathetic ear, assistance with referrals and help recognizing infants' cues were able to significantly improve mother-child interaction and symptoms of depression in the new mothers.

The nurses visited mothers in their homes at six weeks and three, six and nine months postpartum. Each visit lasted an hour.

An INQRI-funded study led by Linda Costa and Robert Feroli and published in the Journal of Nursing Quality Care, revealed that nurses who consulted with pharmacists and visited patients and their families at home post-discharge helped improve patients' adherence to their medication regimens.

The nurses conducted at-home interviews with patients about their medication, and observed whether patients had obtained the prescribed medication, how they were organizing their medication, how often they took it, and whether they obtained refills. They were also able to educate and coach patients about their medication and help them develop plans and systems to ensure they took the correct doses of medications at the correct intervals.

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