Nursing

Nursing's role in care transitions

Nurse Leader Insider, October 6, 2016

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Nurses have always stood out as the advocate for the patient when making healthcare decisions, and in a recent blog post, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) argues that this role makes nurses vital to improving care transition safety.

Care transitions can encompass a variety of patient movements, including moving patients from units within a hospital, to rehabilitation centers, or being charged back home. The AHRQ reports that care transitions are often associated with negative outcomes when not managed well.

As the caregivers with the most patient contact, nurses are often the most attuned to each patient’s individual needs, making them vital to preventing adverse events in care transition. They are the first to notice subtle changes in a patient’s condition after a transition, from discrepancies in vital signs to changes in mood or mental status.

AHRQ’s research indicates that providing more support and resources for nurses as care managers can make a big difference in lowering readmissions. For instance, the Partnership for Patients’ program implemented nurses in a leadership role and provided toolkits to help nurses manage the care transition of Medicare patients. Participating hospitals reported a significant reduction in readmissions in a matter of months, thanks to the leadership efforts of the nursing staff.
 



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