Nursing Education and Redesigned Discharge Process: Effects on Congestive Heart Failure Patient Outcomes

Monday, 30 July 2012: 11:25 AM

Mary L. Gish, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Catholic Healthcare West, Grass Valley, CA
Mary F. Rodts, DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN
School of Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL
Judy Crouch
Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Carmichael, CA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe how nursing education is vital to successful changes in clinical outcomes of patient with congestive heart failure.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to articulate the key causal factors of readmissions of congestive heart failure patients.

In a rural community hospital in northern California, greater than fifty percent of all patients are over the age of 64 years.  The readmission rate for congestive heart failure (CHF) patients is greater than the rate for the state of California.  A decrease in readmission rates has been selected as a three year strategic goal due to the proposed rule from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which will result in a financial discount if the rate of readmissions does not improve.

The purpose of the Redesigned Discharge Process Project is to reduce the readmission rate of patients with the diagnosis of CHF.  The project consists of two major components.  The first component is the education of registered nurses on congestive heart failure with two different methods of education.  These methods were a self administered written module followed by an online teaching module.  The second component of the project required an advanced practice nurse to intervene in the education and comprehensive discharge plan for congestive heart failure patients admitted to the telemetry unit.

For the self-study module, a t-test for a two-sample assuming unequal variance was used.  The results for the self-study module demonstrated a value of p < 0.0001.   A t-test methodology was utilized for the pre and post tests after the online education.  The p-value for this grouping was < 0.0036. The project resulted in the reduction of the readmission rate for CHF patients from a baseline of 27% to a rate of 17%.    

Based on the outcomes of this project, targeted education to update nurses in evidence-based practice with a redesigned discharge process does result in the successful reduction of readmission rates for hospitalized patients with congestive heart failure.