Elderly folk hospitalized for heart failure – the most common issue in seniors – are often diagnosed with other conditions. This specific age group has the highest rate of readmission for adults and is becoming quite a problem with the aging population in the US. Research has been made to look into how post-hospital care can be improved to better treat elders and avoid trips back.
A study by Dr. Mary Naylor of the University of Pennsylvania sheds light on elderly care after hospital visits. The study is entitled ‘Transitional care of older adults hospitalized with heart failure: a randomized, controlled trial’ and was published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society back in 2004.
The research was aimed towards predicting problems when it comes to the transition of care for elders following hospital discharge. After having identified these, a discharge plan was formulated and suggested for planning home care and individual needs.
The study found that roughly 80% of elders experienced exacerbated symptoms following discharge after five days in the hospital. Theories point toward poor transitional care.
Volunteer respondents participated in an intervention program. Here, they underwent a three-month Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) program in which APNs served as their caretakers. APNs likewise patterned specific plans to address each elder’s needs across different settings at home. A protocol was effected to monitor each patient’s multiple health issues.
When follow-ups were made a year later, results show that patients who participated in the intervention spent a considerably longer time away from hospital readmission compared to those who didn’t participate
While APN programs increase the cost of healthcare, the study reveals that such costs were lower by about $3,500 at the end of the year per patient. This speaks well of nurses and their abilities to provide beside quality healthcare at home.
As Dr. Naylor states, “Nurses will play a pivotal role in addressing the health care needs of people throughout the 21st century. The cutting edge science, led by nurses and designed to advance knowledge related to promoting healthy lifestyles and caring for the chronically ill, will position nurses and other health team members to make a major difference in the lives of these people.”