Thursday, September 18, 2014

RN Researching Communication Tool that could Reduce Readmissions

A nurse researcher is exploring whether or not hospital readmissions among elderly patients in assisted living could be reduced through improved communications between medical providers, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal reports.

Alyce Ashcraft, associate dean for research at the Texas Tech University School of Nursing, is conducting a study with a customized Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation (SBAR) tool that gathers additional patient information and forces more transparency in nurse-provider communication.

Over a 16 week-period, Ashcraft instructed nurses at a retirement community in Lubbock, Texas, to document all of their consultations with health care providers, including phone and fax communications, on SBAR forms. The intent is to eliminate repeats tests and create more efficient care by recording when nurses contact other providers about a patient’s condition, and the actions taken. The data is still be collected and analyzed.

“I don’t care if you’re here in long-term care, or the hospital or home health, it doesn’t matter,” Ashcraft, told the Journal. “Communicating the right information and getting the residents’, the patients’, the clients’ story right so that decisions can be made that are good for them; [t]hat’s what we hope to do.”

INQRI researchers at Marquette University, led by Marianne Weiss and Olga Yakusheva, studied what hospital-based nurses do to influence outcomes, including readmission rates, after a patient is discharged from a hospital. Specifically, they identified the contributions that nursing staff make to the quality of discharge teaching and the impact of that teaching on patient outcomes, readiness and readmission rates of patients who are discharged home. They found that when units had more RN hours per patient day, fewer overtime hours and fewer vacancies, the discharge teaching was of higher quality, patients reported greater readiness for hospital discharge, and post-discharge utilization of readmission and emergency room visits was lower.

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