Chronic disease is the most costly health care problem in America today, with heart failure leading the pack. With penalties for patient readmissions looming, facilities are seeking solutions. One answer? Programs led by nurse practitioners (NPs).
In the November/December 2015 issue of Nursing Economic$, Judith Kutzleb and co-authors describe an NP Care Model implemented at a North Jersey medical center designed to tackle the tricky issue of patient readmissions.
Under the “Healthy Heart” initiative, which aimed to reduce the readmission rate, NPs coordinated the education, medication, diet, and lifestyle of 312 patients with heart failure who were discharged and at high-risk for early readmission.
The NPs collaborated with physicians, a key component for success, according to the authors. By integrating medicine, nursing, individualized care, and therapeutic interventions, the program achieved a readmission rate of 8% for the 30 days post-discharge, a far cry from the 26% readmission rate in the 12 months before the program was implemented. Costs also dropped dramatically.
“Creating a culture that integrates the NP is a worthwhile organizational investment to enhance optimal NP practice to benefit patients, families, and physician colleagues,” the authors wrote.
For more info, see Kutzleb et al. (2015). Nurse practitioner care model: Meeting the health care challenges with a collaborative team. Nursing Economic$, 33(6), 297-304.