Not All Hospital Readmissions Are Preventable but READI Protocol Can Assist in Some Cases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marianne Weiss DNSc RN READI study Principal Investigator Professor of Nursing and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health Marquette University College of Nursing Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881

Dr. Weiss

Marianne Weiss DNSc RN
READI study Principal Investigator
Professor of Nursing and
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare / Sister Rosalie Klein Professor of Women’s Health
Marquette University College of Nursing
Milwaukee Wi, 53201-1881

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our team of researchers has been studying the association of patient readiness for discharge and readmission for several years. We have previously documented that patients who had ‘low readiness’ on our Readiness for Hospital Discharge Scale were more likely to be readmitted. In this study we added structured protocols for discharge readiness assessment and nurse actions to usual discharge care practices to determine the optimal protocol configuration to achieve improved post-discharge utilization outcomes.

In our primary analysis that included patients from a broad range of patient diagnoses, we did not find a significant effect on readmission from adding any of the discharge readiness assessment protocols. The patient sample came from Magnet hospitals, known for high quality care, and the average all-cause readmission rates were low (11.3%).

In patients discharged from high-readmission units (>11.3%), one of the protocols was effective in reducing the likelihood of readmission. In this protocol, the nurse obtained the patients self-report of discharge readiness to inform the nurse’s discharge readiness assessment and actions in finalizing preparations for discharge. This patient-informed discharge readiness assessment protocol produced a nearly 2 percentage point reduction in readmissions. Not unexpectedly, in lower readmission settings, we did not see a reduction in readmission; not all readmissions are preventable.

In the last phase of study, we informed nurses of a cut-off score for ‘low readiness’ and added a prescription for nurse action only in cases of ‘low readiness’; this addition to the protocol added burden to the nurses’ daily work and eliminated the beneficial effects, perhaps because it limited the nurse’s attention to only a subset of patients. 

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Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners Are Increasingly Providing Specialty Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kristin Ray, MD, MS</strong> Assistant Professor Health Policy Institute University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Dr. Ray

Kristin Ray, MD, MS
Assistant Professor
Health Policy Institute
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We were interested in understanding how nurse practitioners and physician assistants are working with specialist physicians to provide specialty care. Much has been described and studied about nurse practitioners and physician assistants providing primary care, but the literature about their role in specialty care is more sparse. There have been many concerns over time about the supply of specialist physicians, heightening our interest in the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in working with specialist physicians.

We focused on examining whether care to physician specialist’s patients by nurse practitioners and physician assistants has increased over time as well as examining characteristics of patients seen by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

We found that visits with NPs and PAs for specialty care have increased over time, but remains a small fraction of specialty care overall.

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Simulation Exercises Reduce Anxiety of Taking Baby Home From NICU

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah A. Raines PhD, EdS, RN, ANEF School of Nursing University at Buffalo

Dr. Raines

Deborah A. Raines PhD, EdS, RN, ANEF
School of Nursing
University at Buffalo

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This research grew from my experience as a neonatal nurse. I have worked with many families preparing to take their baby home and have seen the anxiety they experience wondering if they will be able to take care of their baby’s medical needs at home.

Parents are usually most anxious about emergency situations that may occur. Majority of these parents are able to state what they should do, but have never experienced the actual situation with their baby. This study was designed to see if a simulation experience would fill this gap in parents’ preparation for the discharge of their baby from the NICU. This study had parents participated in a customized simulation to have them experience the care needed by their baby at home following discharge from the NICU.

The findings revealed that parents reported a nearly 30 percent increase in confidence in their abilities to care for their baby after participating in the simulation.

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Nurse-Driven Clinical Pathway for Asthma Improves Efficiency, Reduces Length of Stay

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Catherine M. Pound MD The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre

Dr. Catherine Pound

Catherine M. Pound MD
The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and contributes to a large portion of Canadian hospital pediatric admissions.  Once patients are admitted to hospitals, they receive salbutamol, a medication used for acute asthma exacerbations, at a pre-determined frequency.  In most hospitals, physicians are the ones to decide of the frequency of administration of the salbutamol, and they decide when to wean patients off it. However, children whose salbutamol treatment administration can be decreased are usually considered stable, and often do not require immediate medical attention, which may results in delays in reassessments as well as administration of unneeded salbutamol treatments, particularly if physicians are busy looking after other sicker patients.  Additionally, physicians’ assessments of children with asthma and their decisions to wean salbutamol frequency are not standardized, and vary among physicians. Therefore, in order to improve efficiency and standardize patient assessments, we developed a clinical pathway allowing nurses to wean salbutamol for children hospitalized with asthma based on a validated asthma scoring system.

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Substituting Less Well Trained Assistants For Nurses Increased Hospital Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Linda H Aiken PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing Professor of Sociology, School of Arts & Sciences Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr Linda H Aiken

Dr Linda H Aiken PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN
Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing
Professor of Sociology, School of Arts & Sciences
Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research
Philadelphia, PA 19104

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The idea that adding lower skilled and lower wage caregivers to hospitals instead of increasing the number of professional nurses could save money without adversely affecting care outcomes is intuitively appealing to mangers and policymakers but evidence is lacking on whether this strategy is safe or saves money.
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Nurse-Initiated Protocols Can Improve Timeliness of Care in an Urban Emergency Department

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Mathew Douma, RN BSN ENC(C) CNCC(C)
Emergency Department, Royal Alexandra Hospital
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Masters of Nursing Student
University of Toronto, Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Many emergency departments experience crowding, which is typically defined as a situation where demands for service exceed the ability of the emergency department to provide quality care in a timely fashion. Typically when patients are waiting in a waiting room they do not undergo diagnostics or treatments. In an effort to speed the process up and reduce the amount of time the patient spends in the emergency department, some facilities have created protocols for diagnostics or treatments typically outside the traditional scope of practice of nursing staff.

Our emergency department had protocols like this for almost 15 years, though we had never evaluated their effectiveness. So an interdisciplinary group in our emergency department updated them and then we set out to evaluate them.

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Three-Prong Approach To Driving Assessment of Potentially Unsafe Drivers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Lisa Kirk Wiese PhD, RN, APHN-BC C.E. Lynn College of Nursing Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL 3343

Dr. Lisa Wiese

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The impetus for this article was our experience from working at FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center with families as we conducted assessments of older adults referred to our program by family members or law enforcement. We realized that there is a need to educate nurses that a) they can help to identify persons who may be at risk for unsafe driving before accidents occur, and b) there are resources to help families and nurses navigate this challenging topic. This awareness is especially important for persons and friend/family members who find themselves trying to cope with a known or potential diagnosis of dementia.

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Self-Reported Assessment Provides Reliable Measure of Frailty

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Oleg Zaslavsky PhD Assistant Professor at the department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System School of Nursing University of Washington

Dr. Oleg Zaslavsky

Oleg Zaslavsky PhD
Assistant Professor at the department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System
School of Nursing
University of Washington

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Frailty is a common, but serious medical condition among older adults. It is characterized by weight and muscle loss, fatigue, slow walking and low levels of physical activity. It’s important to accurately diagnose and treat frailty, especially because demographic trends show the percentage of U.S. adults age 65 years and older will increase 19% by 2030.

Frailty is commonly assessed by the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) frailty phenotype, which includes a set of physical measurements for slowness, weakness, fatigue, low physical activity and body-weight loss. According to the CHS phenotype, individuals with three or more of these characteristics are at increased risk for falls, hip fractures, disability and mortality. Although the CHS phenotype is good for predicting adverse conditions, it requires direct measurement of physical performance. Refining the phenotype so it doesn’t involve physical measurements of patients in a doctor’s office has practical advantages for research and clinical purposes.

For this study, University of Washington School of Nursing researchers worked with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center faculty to refine the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) frailty phenotype, originally developed in 2005. This new phenotype uses self-reporting from patients instead of measurements of physical performance to determine frailty and associated health outcomes.

In this report, we show that our newly-proposed WHI measuring scheme performs as well as the more complex CHS phenotype in predicting death, hip fractures and falls in older women.

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Link Between Zika Virus, Microcephaly, Stillbirths and Miscarriages

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nancy Dirubbo, DNP, FNP, FAANP
, Certificate in Travel Health, American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Fellow
Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) President of the Board

Medical Research: Can you provide some background on what is the Zika virus?

Response: Zika virus was first found in monkeys in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947 during a research project on mosquito borne viral diseases. From Africa, it spread to India, Indonesia and South East Asia over the next 20-30 years. Not much attention was paid to this illness, as it is often asymptomatic (perhaps as much as 80% of all cases). It causes few symptoms in adults (mild rash, conjunctivitis and headache) and so is often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed as other self-limiting, viral diseases. Then fast forward to 2015, when a sudden increase in infants born in Brazil with microcephaly occurred and a connection was made with a sharp increase in Zika viral infections, even though the direct mechanism for causing this birth defect is not known. In 2014, there were less than 150 cases of microcephaly in Brazil, and by October 2015, there were 4,700 cases reported.

Medical Research: What is the concern regarding pregnant women and their babies?

Response: The concern for pregnant women is that there appears to be a link between Zika virus and microcephaly, still birth and miscarriages. Children who do survive have severe intellectual disabilities. The virus is most often transmitted by mosquitos, but may also be sexually transmitted. According to the CDC, “Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible, and is of particular concern during pregnancy. Current information about possible sexual transmission of Zika is based on reports of three cases.” The CDC also recommends, “Men who reside in or have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission who have a pregnant partner should abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex (i.e., vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse or fellatio) for the duration of the pregnancy.” It has yet to be determined if Zika virus can be transmitted in other ways, including blood transfusions.

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Most Nurses Skip Some Infection Control Measures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Donna Powers, DNP, RN Kransoff Quality Management Institute North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System New York, NY

Dr. Donna Powers

Donna Powers, DNP, RN
Kransoff Quality Management Institute
North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System
New York, NY 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Powers: Despite widely published, accessible guidelines on infection control and negative health consequences of noncompliance with the guidelines, significant issues remain around the use of Standard Precautions to protect nurses  from bloodborne infectious diseases.

Only 17.4% of ambulatory nurses reported compliance with all nine standards. The nurses represented medicine, cardiology, dialysis, oncology, pre – surgical testing, radiation and urology practices. Compliance rates varied considerably and were highest for wearing gloves (92%) when exposure of hands to bodily fluids was anticipated, however only 63% reported washing hands after glove removal.  68% provided nursing care considering all patients as potentially contagious. Overall, the ambulatory care nurses chose to implement some behaviors and not others, and this behavior puts them at risk for acquiring a bloodborne infection.”

The study also found knowledge of HCV was variable. Although HCV is not efficiently transmitted by sexual activity, more than one in four nurses (26 %) believed that sexual transmission is a common way that HCV is spread.  14 percent believed incorrectly that most people with HCV will die prematurely because of the infection, 12 percent did not know that HCV antibodies can be present without an infection, and 11 percent did not know there are multiple HCV genotypes.

A statistically significant relationship was found between compliance and perception of susceptibility to HCV illness (P = .05) and between compliance and perception of barriers to use of Standard precautions (P=.005).

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Better Nursing Environment Linked To Lower Hospital Mortality

More on Nursing Research on MedicalResearch.com
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey H. Silber, M.D., Ph.D. The Nancy Abramson Wolfson Professor of Health Services Research The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Professor of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology & Critical Care, The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine Professor of Health Care Management, The Wharton School Director, Center for Outcomes Research The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr. Jeffrey Silber

Jeffrey H. Silber, M.D., Ph.D.
The Nancy Abramson Wolfson Professor of Health Services Research
Professor of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology & Critical Care,  The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Professor of Health Care Management
The Wharton School
Director, Center for Outcomes Research
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA 19104 


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: We wanted to test whether hospitals with better nursing work environments displayed better outcomes and value than those with worse nursing environments, and to determine whether these results depended on how sick patients were when first admitted to the hospital.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: Hospitals with better nursing work environments (defined by Magnet status), and staffing that was above average (a nurse-to-bed ratio greater than or equal to 1), had lower mortality than those hospitals with worse nursing environments and below average staffing levels. The mortality rate in Medicare patients undergoing general surgery was 4.8% in the hospitals with the better nursing environments versus 5.8% in those hospitals with worse nursing environments. Furthermore, cost per patient was similar. We found that better nursing environments were also associated with lower need to use the Intensive Care Unit. The greatest mortality benefit occurred in patients in the highest risk groups.

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End of Life Home Care Nursing Reduces Emergency Department Visits

Dr-Hsien-SeowMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Hsien Seow, PhD

Associate Professor Department of Oncology
Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair in Health Services Research
Associate Member, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics
McMaster University
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Young Investigator
Hamilton, Ontario 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Seow: Despite being commonplace in healthcare systems, little research has described the effectiveness of publicly-provided generalist homecare nursing to reduce unnecessary acute care use at end-of-life, such as emergency department (ED) visits. It is also unclear how homecare nursing intent, which varies by standard care or end-of-life, affects this relationship. Our study examined a population-based cohort of cancer decedents in Ontario, Canada who used homecare nursing in their last six months of life. Specifically we examined the relationship between homecare nursing rate in a given week on the ED visit rate in the subsequent week. In our cohort of 54,576 decedents, there was a temporal association between receiving end-of-life nursing in a given week during the last six months of life, and of more standard nursing in the last month of life, with a reduced  ED rate in the subsequent week.

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12 Hour Shifts May Increase Nursing Burnout

Chiara Dall'Ora MSc Nursing and Midwifery Sciences University of SouthamptonMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chiara Dall’Ora MSc
Nursing and Midwifery Sciences
University of Southampton 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is a trend for healthcare employers to adopt longer shifts, typically 2 shifts per day each lasting 12 hours. This allows nurses to work fewer shifts each week. Changes are driven by perceived efficiencies for the employer, and anecdotal reports of improved work life balance for employees because they work fewer days per week. However, it is unclear whether these longer shits adversely affect nurses’ wellbeing, in terms of burnout, job dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction with work schedule flexibility and intention to leave the job.

We found that when nurses work 12 h shifts or longer they are more likely to experience high burnout, dissatisfaction with work schedule flexibility and intention to leave their job, compared to nurses working 8 h or less. All shifts longer than 8 hours are associated with nurses’ job dissatisfaction.

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Long Work Week, Heavy Lifting Linked To Decreased Fertility in Nurses

Dr. Audrey J Gaskins Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Audrey J Gaskins
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gaskins: Previous studies have linked shift work, long working hours, and physical factors to an increased risk of menstrual cycle disturbances, spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and low birth weight; however the association with fecundity is inconsistent. Several papers have also reviewed the occupational exposures of health care workers and concluded that reproductive health issues are a concern. Therefore we sought to determine the extent to which work schedules and physical factors were associated with fecundity in a large cohort of nurses. Women who work in an industry that requires them to work from a height or even lift heavy objects requires them to undertake training which guides them though the effective stages on how to work safely at heights. Without the right training, this sort of work can become very dangerous.

Our main findings were that that working >40 hours per week and moving or lifting a heavy load >15 times per day (including repositioning or transferring patients) were associated with reduced fecundity in our cohort of female nurses planning pregnancy. However, all other factors such as frequency of night work, duration of rotating and non-rotating night shifts, and time spent walking or standing at work were not significantly associated with fecundity in this cohort.

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Smoking, Addiction and Mental Health Issues Linked To Frequent Emergency Department Visit

Jessica Castner, PhD, RN, CEN Assistant Professor University at Buffalo, New YorkMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jessica Castner, PhD, RN, CEN
Assistant Professor
University at Buffalo, New York

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Castner: There are groups of people more likely to visit the emergency department (ED) frequently.  One of these groups are people insured by Medicaid, the insurance for those with low incomes.  By finding what factors increase the risk for frequent emergency department use, healthcare leaders can target interventions to design a more effective and accessible healthcare delivery system.  With approximately 12 million ED visits each year related to behavioral health issues, we wanted to investigate how smoking, substance abuse and psychiatric diagnoses increased the risk for repeat ED use for adults insured by Medicaid.

There are many problems associated with frequent emergency department use, including less than ideal continuity of care, crowding, and cost. Every year, there are over 136 million visits to United States EDs, and 12 million are linked to some sort of behavioral health issue.  Unlike primary care, the patient is not likely to see a healthcare provider in the emergency department who knows them or one who may not have access to their complete and up-to-date records.  The patient might get conflicting guidance or have tests ordered that duplicate tests recently done in other settings.

Frequent emergency department visitors also contribute to crowded EDs, where demand outstrips capacity. Studies have shown an association with increased morbidity and mortality for patients treated in the ED during these times of crowding.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Castner: The main findings of our study include helping to dispel the myth of “inappropriate emergency department use.”  Our research analyzed the 2009 Medicaid claims for Erie and Niagara County. Our findings indicate that there is a positive relationship between outpatient visits and frequent emergency department use.  In other words, people who are sicker and have more complex illnesses use all services more – both the emergency department and their outpatient care provider.  In addition, we found that smoking, substance abuse, and psychiatric diagnoses all substantially increased the odds of frequent emergency department use – or ED bouncebacks.  The most surprising finding was that healthy individuals were four times more likely to be frequent ED users if they smoked.

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Nurses and Nursing Assistants Face Occupational Injury and Workplace Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ahmed Gomaa, MD, ScD, MSPH
Medical Officer / Surveillance Branch
Division of Surveillance Hazard Evaluation and Health Studies
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Gomaa:  In 2013, one in five reported nonfatal occupational injuries occurred among workers in the health care and social assistance industry, the highest number of such injuries reported for all private industries. In 2011, U.S. health care personnel experienced seven times the national rate of musculoskeletal disorders compared with all other private sector workers. To reduce the number of preventable injuries among health care personnel, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), with collaborating partners, created the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN) to collect detailed injury data to help target prevention efforts. OHSN, a free, voluntary surveillance system for health care facilities, enables prompt and secure tracking of occupational injuries by type, occupation, location, and risk factors.

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Physical Activity Including Housework Linked To Better Physical and Emotional Aging

kathy-wrightMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathy Wright, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, PMHCNS-BC
KL2 Postdoc, Clinical Instructor 2011-13 SAMHSA Scholar
2010-12 National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence
Patricia G. Archbold Scholar
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Wright: This study was a secondary analysis of baseline data from the After Discharge Care Management of Low Income Frail Elderly (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grant #1 R01 HS014539-01A1). The participants were aged 65 and older enrolled during an acute care hospitalization. Each participant had at least one deficit in activities of daily living (e.g., bathing, dressing) or two deficits in instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., transportation, paying bills). The purpose of the study was to test House’s Conceptual Framework for Understanding Social Inequalities in Health and Aging in Medicare-Medicaid enrollees in a group of low-income older adults to determine the relationships between socio-demographic factors (i.e., race, education, age, gender, income, and neighborhood poverty), health behaviors, and physical function and emotional well-being. As a part of the health behavior component, participants were interviewed and asked questions regarding the amount of physical activity they engaged in during the week.

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Mental Health Workers Frequently Risk Assault at Work

Erin L. Kelly PhD Post Doctoral Scholar Health Services Research Center University of California, Los Angeles, CaliforniaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Erin L. Kelly PhD Post Doctoral Scholar
Health Services Research Center
University of California, Los Angeles, California

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kelly: Mental health facilities can be hazardous workplaces. Nationally, compared to their counterparts in other healthcare settings, mental health workers are at the highest risk for patient assaults. Many studies have focused on predictors for assault such as gender, years of experience, or the position that staff hold in the hospital, which can account for a small amount of violence. However, psychiatric care is largely about relationships. Our study examined how conflicts with patients and coworkers, and how people react to conflict, influences their risk of assault.

In our study, 70% of staff at a large public mental hospital were assaulted in a single year, which is closer to the lifetime assault rate for mental health workers. We also found that the likelihood of assault is predicted by conflicts when we also include stress reactions to conflict as a moderator. We found that workers who reported being less reactive to conflict but experienced a great deal of conflict, with staff or patients, were at the highest risk of assault. This could mean that people who aren’t afraid of conflict with patients are more likely to jump in with agitated patients or that people who are insensitive to conflict are missing important social cues and being assaulted more often. However, despite the similarity in the relationships of staff conflict and patient conflict with assault risk, it’s possible that the direction of the relationship between staff conflict and assault may be different. For example, mental health staff who have a lot of conflict with their co-workers may be isolated and therefore a target for assault by patients.

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Night-Shift Work Linked To Increased Mortality In Nurses

Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH Associate Professor of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Epidemiology Harvard School of Public Health Channing Division of Network MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH

Associate Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard School of Public Health
Channing Division of Network Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Schernhammer: The study is an observational cohort study of over 70,000 registered nurses from within the US who reported the total number of years they had worked rotating night work and were followed for several decades. We examined overall mortality in these women, and observed significantly higher overall mortality, as well as higher mortality from cardiovascular disease in women with several years of rotating night shift work, compared to nurses who had never worked night shifts. There was also some suggestion for modest and non-significant increases in mortality from a few cancers. The study is unique due to its size, the fact that all participants were nurses (eliminating potential biases arising from differing occupational exposures), the long follow-up, and the possibility to take into account most known risk factors for chronic diseases that we currently know of (all of this information has been collected regularly and repeatedly).  Continue reading

Home Based Nurse Care Coordination Improved Outcomes and Reduced Costs

Karen Dorman Marek, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN Bernita 'B' Steffl Professor of Geriatric Nursing Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation Phoenix, AZ 85004-0696MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Karen Dorman Marek, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN
Bernita ‘B’ Steffl Professor of Geriatric Nursing
Arizona State University
College of Nursing & Health Innovation
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0696

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: For many older adults, self-management of chronic illness is an overwhelming task, especially for those with mild cognitive impairment or complex medication regimens. The purpose of this study was to evaluate cost outcomes of a home-based program that included both nurse care coordination and technology to support self-management of chronic illness, with as an emphasis on medications in frail older adults. A total of 414 older adults, identified as having difficulty self-managing their medications, were recruited at discharge from three Medicare-certified home health care agencies in a large Midwestern urban area. A prospective, randomized, controlled, three-arm, longitudinal design was used. A team consisting of both Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) coordinated care to two groups: home-based nurse care coordination (NCC) plus mediplanner group and NCC plus the MD.2 medication-dispensing machine group. Major findings were:

  • Total Medicare costs were $447 per month lower in the NCC + mediplanner group (p=0.11) when compared to the control group.
  • For participants in the study at least 3 months, total Medicare costs were $491 lower per month in the NCC + mediplanner group (p=0.06) compared to the control group.
  • The cost of the NCC intervention was $151 per month, yielding a net savings of $296 per month or $3552 per year for the NCC + mediplanner group.
  • Participants who received the nurse care coordination intervention scored significantly better than the control group in depression (p < 0.001), functional status (p < 0.001), cognition (p < 0.001), and quality of life (p < 0.001) than participants in the control group.

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Longer Shifts and Overtime May Lead To Lower Quality and Safety of Nursing Care

Dr. Peter Griffiths PhD, RN Centre for Innovation and Leadership in Health Sciences University of Southampton, Southampton, UK MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Peter Griffiths PhD, RN
Centre for Innovation and Leadership in Health Sciences
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Griffiths: This study found that hospital nurses who are working on a 2 shift system, where care is provided by nurses working long shifts of 12-13 hours, report lower quality and safety of care than nurses who work a traditional three shift system where nurses typically work shifts of 8 hours. We also found that nurses who were working overtime reported lower quality and safety of care. We found that these shifts are common in some European countries – most notably Poland, Ireland and England.

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Nursing Home Culture Change Reduced Hospitalizations, Feeding Tubes and Bedsores

dr_susan_millerMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Susan Miller, PhD
Professor of Health Services, Practice and Policy (Research) at the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Prof. Miller:  Upon introduction of culture change, the nursing homes that implemented culture change most extensively produced statistically significant improvements in the percent of residents on bladder training programs, the percent of residents who required restraints, the proportion of residents with feeding tubes, and the percent with pressure ulcers. They also showed a nearly significant reduction in resident hospitalizations. No quality indicator became significantly worse.

Among homes that implemented less culture change, the only significant improvement occurred in the number of Medicare/Medicaid health-related and quality of life survey deficiencies. Urinary tract infections and hospitalizations got slightly worse.

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Hospital Mortality: Association With Nurses’ Work Load and Education

Professor Linda H Aiken PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing, Professor of Sociology Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research University of Pennsylvania School of NursingMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Linda H Aiken PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN
Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing, Professor of Sociology
Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research
Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

MedicalResearch.com: Austerity measures and health-system redesign to minimise hospital expenditures risk adversely affecting patient outcomes. Against that backdrop, can you start by letting us know the background of the study?

 Prof. Aiken: European Surgical Outcomes Study in 28 countries showed higher than necessary deaths after surgery.

A comparable study in the US showed that despite the nation spending hundreds of millions of dollars on improving patient safety, there were no improvements in adverse outcomes after surgery in US hospitals between 2000 and 2009.  Clearly it is time to consider new solutions to improving hospital care for surgical patients, who make up a large proportion of all hospital admissions.  Our study was designed to determine whether there are risks for patients of reducing hospital nurse staffing, and what, if any, are the benefits to patients of moving to a more educated nurse workforce. Continue reading

Beside Nursing Handover: Patients’ Views

Dr. Lianne Jeffs 
PhD Nurse and researcher at St. Michael's Hospital University of TorontoMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Lianne Jeffs 
PhD
Nurse and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Jeffs: The main findings of the study include:

1. Patients described the bedside nursing handover as engaging, personal and informative.  The bedside nursing handover created a a space to connect with their nurses in a more personal manner (e.g., provided an introduction between patient and nurse at the beginning of the shift)

2. Patients found the experience increased their engagement in their own care, and kept them informed about their health status and care plan. It also gave the patient an opportunity to identify important needs to the nurse (e.g., daily activities)

3. Not all patients wanted to participate in the bedside nursing handover. This was typically exemplified by long-term-stay patients.
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