Nurse intervention aims to reduce readmissions

As hospitals continue to combat readmissions, facilities in Florida and New Jersey have found a successful tool: nurse intervention and communication.

For instance, Memorial Hospital focuses on nursing education, and St. Vincent's HealthCare has nurses explain discharge plans before patients leave the hospitals, reported the Florida Times-Union.

"Medication-related side effects and misunderstandings about what and when to take medicine is a leading cause of readmissions," Phil Perry, St. Vincent's vice president and chief medical officer, told the Times-Union.

St. Vincent's also devotes a nurse practitioner (NP) to provide transitional care for heart failure patients. The heart failure NP not only provides one-on-one training to the patient in the hospital but also ensures that patients are seen within 7 days of leaving the hospital and receive a follow-up phone call within 48 hours and 10 days of discharge, the article noted.

Meanwhile, healthcare organizations in Atlantic and Cape May counties, N.J., are aiming to reduce readmissions by 20 percent during the next three years, reported Shore News Today.

To reach that goal, AtlantiCare Healthcare at Home of Egg Harbor Township has implemented nurse-coach interventions to help patients understand and follow healthcare instructions. As a liaison between patients and providers, the nurse-coach coordinates appointments, transportation and medication, Shore News Today noted.

However, despite improving the discharge process, a December Journal of Hospital Medicine study found that adding a nurse practitioner (NP) to a care team doesn't decrease patient readmissions.

For more information:
- here's the Florida Times-Union article
- read the Shore News Today article