Nurses working in a joint program designed to reduce sternal wound infections among cardiac patients credit face-to-face meetings for improved communication and patient care.
Two meet-and-greet sessions held for the cardiothoracic post-op program, one of 15 joint clinical initiatives for Manhattans Mount Sinai Hospital and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, improved patient care due to an improved and cleared channel of communication between VNSNY and Mount Sinai staff, said Huda Scheidelman, BSN, RN, a nurse at VNSNY.
Interacting with each other during the gatherings created a rapport among nurses.
[That rapport] seems to bring our patients comfort and confidence, Scheidelman said.
The goal of the post-op program is to provide a coordinated approach to educate patients on wound care and infection prevention so they can rehab at home instead of at a subacute rehab facility.
Between March and December of 2013, there were 535 admissions, and the 30-day readmission rate was 13.3% for all causes. During the first six months of 2014, readmissions dropped to 6.7%.
The decrease in readmissions in the VNSNY heart failure program and its partnership with Mount Sinai can be attributed to many factors, including teamwork and collaboration between providers, said Beth Oliver, DNP, RN, vice president of cardiac services for Mount Sinai Health System.
[Its easier to coordinate care] when you know something about the person you are coordinating with, Oliver said. The relationship that is built between the clinical nurses and the [VNSNY] nurses is a powerful medium through which they can work together to optimize patient outcomes.
Continuation of care from the hospital to the home is key, said Rosendo Rellita, RN, who works at Mount Sinai and attended both meet-and-greet sessions.
On the day of discharge, both the Mount Sinai RN assigned to the patient and the VNSNY nurse check the patients sternal wound and the SVG harvested site together, Rellita said. The two nurses … discuss the case together.
Not much paperwork is exchanged, but the VNSNY nurses ask about required needs for the patient when they go into the home, said Abelardo Andrada, RN, who works at Mount Sinai. This allows the continuity of care that the patients need, especially after going through open heart surgery, he said.
Matching names, facesHuda Scheidelman, RN
About 25 nurses participated in the new communication program.
Meeting someone she can later call helps to improve the quality of care, said VNSNY nurse Martine Benoit, RN.
When you are making a home visit and there is something going on with the patient, just to have that extra person that you can call and compare notes … that is very beneficial to the nurse and the patient.
Getting to know each other is invaluable.
They put a face to the voice at the other end of the phone, Oliver said. Knowing the person to whom you are speaking brings an increased sense of security as well as accountability. Its much more difficult to let down someone that you know.
Jane Cholak, BSN, RN, director of strategic account development at VNSNY, agreed.
Nursing is all about communication, she said. How comfortable would you feel doing a patient handoff to a nurse you dont know? The simple act of a home care nurse picking up a phone to talk with a nurse at the hospital can make a huge difference in the overall care for the patient.
Robin Farmer is a freelance writer.