NCH was recently named a winner of an American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) award that recognizes NCH's exceptional performance for assisting patients with managing heart failure.
NCH was presented with the AAHFN 30-Day Readmission Award for medical facilities with 250 to 500 beds for significantly reducing patients' readmission rates within 30 days following their discharges. The heart failure team at the hospital developed a heart failure order set that empowers direct care staff nurses to treat heart failure patients in a timelier manner. NCH's 30-day readmission rates decreased after implementing the order set.
Karolee Fill, APN, who leads NCH's heart failure team, found that NCH's readmission data revealed that the highest number of heart failure patients who were readmitted were from skilled nursing facilities. The team met with representatives from the facilities and discussed heart failure initiatives, including a heart failure order set document that follows the patient from hospital discharge to arrival at the skilled nursing facility. The order set enables nurses to treat heart failure patients at the earliest sign of decompensation, or worsening of symptoms, which can prevent a hospital readmission, Fill says.
"The personal goal I have for my heart failure patients is to positively impact their quality of life," Fill says. "As an organization, our goal is to prevent readmission. We have many initiatives for these patients to help prevent readmission to the hospital."
To be eligible for the award, hospitals had to meet several requirements, including creating a heart failure program structure that consisted of a multidisciplinary team and implementing strategies to reduce readmissions based on the best available evidence, practices or clinical guidelines. The reduction in the 30-day hospital readmission program had to be sustained for a minimum of six months after the strategies were implemented.
Each year, one million Americans are hospitalized with heart failure and within 30 days of going home, a quarter of them will be back in the hospital again, according to AAHFN.