Research results presented at the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology show that heart failure patients who are admitted to hospitals in January, on Fridays and overnight have the highest death rates and longest hospital stays. Those admitted between 6am and noon had better outcomes than patients admitted in the evening, right before the weekend or in the middle of the night.
The study, which examined 14 years of data on more than 900,000 heart failure patients at New York hospitals, suggests that staffing plays a key role in outcomes, according to David Kao of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who led the research team.
An INQRI-funded study led by Patti Hamilton and Gretchen Gemeinhardt revealed that patients admitted to hospitals during evenings and weekends ("off-peak" hours) experience more health problems. Nurses who work off-peak hours report that communication with other health providers is more difficult during those hours than during peak hours, which contributes to the poorer patient outcomes.
Another INQRI study, led by Robin Newhouse and Laura Morlock, and recently published in Medical Care, found that rural hospitals with lower nurse turnover and better practice environments were better able to implement a quality collaborative intervention aimed at improving care for heart failure patients.