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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Why Are There So Few Male Nurses and Kindergarten Teachers?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Nurse gives flu jab” by NHS Employers is licensed under CC BY 2.0Katharina Block, M.A.

Phd Student – Social Psychology
The University of British Columbia 

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

Response: Healthcare workers and teachers are incredibly central to how we function as a society. We are having trouble filling these positions, and especially men are underrepresented in them.

In the U.S. men represent only about 10% of nurses and 4% of pre-school and kindergarten teachers. We wanted to know how men’s more basic values play into this.

Our main finding is that tend men see less importance in care-oriented careers then women do, and we find that this could be tied to the more basic values feel are important to them personally.  Continue reading

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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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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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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Standardized Model Empowers Nurses To Decrease Urinary Catheter Use

Jerome A. Leis, MD MSc FRCPC Staff physician, General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Physician Lead, Antimicrobial Stewardship Team Staff member, Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Dr. Jerome Leis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jerome A. Leis, MD MSc FRCPC

Staff physician, General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Physician Lead, Antimicrobial Stewardship Team
Staff member, Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

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

Dr. Leis: Overuse of urinary catheters leads to significant morbidity among hospitalized patients.  In most hospitals, discontinuation of urinary catheters relies on individual providers remembering to re-assess whether patients have an ongoing reason for a urinary catheter.  We engaged all of the attending physicians to agree on the appropriate reasons for leaving a urinary catheter in place and developed a medical directive for nurses to remove all urinary catheters lacking these indications.  This nurse-led intervention resulted in a significant reduction in urinary catheter use and catheter-associated urinary tract infections, compared with wards that continued to rely on usual practice.

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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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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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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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