- As a BSN prepared nurse, you have been asked to serve as a consultant to suggest a new Quality (Performance) Improvement process for ONE of the areas of deficiency. Write some brief steps (suggestions) for improvement as you contemplate accepting the consulting opportunity.
- Share practice improvements utilized from your own clinical nursing experiences that have led to enhanced patient outcomes.
Patient outcomes are a direct result of quality care. What would be your primer for one area of improvement that data has presented as an opportunity? What national benchmark are you comparing your benchmark to?
I have been asked, as a BSN prepared nurse to evaluate and promote a quality performance improvement plan process for patient readmissions involving those patients with congestive heart failure, CHF (Rau, 2015). The first step is to review the pharmacy medication reconciliation to ensure the medications prescribed reflect the core measures for the type of CHF the patient has. Patients with systolic dysfunction with an ejection fraction less than 40%, require an angiotensin receptor blocker. Other targeted measures require some patients to take a beta blocker (American Heart Association, 2013). The diagnosis of hypertension needs to be addressed. If present, an ACEI or ARB, beta blocker, and hydralize should be on the medication list. In addition to cardiac medications, an evaluation of diuretics such as Lasix needs to be evaluated with consideration of the dose and if a dose increase is warranted. The second step requires a recent echocardiogram within the last six months to be on the record, if there is not, then one needs to be done during the concurrent hospitalization. During the hospitalization, DVT prophylaxis needs to be given, as many patients with CHF are non-ambulatory (American Heart Association, 2013).
The reason for hospital readmission needs to be evaluated, such as an acute on chronic episode of systolic, diastolic or combined systolic and diastolic heart failure needs to be known. Has the patient been compliant with mediation, sodium intake, and daily weight? Follow-up physician appointments with a reminder and resources available for the patient to get to and from appointments are other considerations. The last item to review is those patients requiring a CPAP at night or oxygen. Does the patient have a working machine and enough oxygen on hand? These are all items that can be tracked in order to prevent readmission in less than 30 days. Upon discharge, information on the heart failure clinic needs to be reviewed with both the patient and family member. The heart failure clinic has additional resources available such as a customized management plan for home, a calendar to record daily weight and symptoms, bathroom scale, sodium tracker, and if needed a pill organizer.
Clinical experience that can be drawn from my current nursing role as a clinical documentation specialist, CDS includes the identification of a specific diagnosis. An abundant number of patients are admitted with CHF, but further clarification is required if the physician simply documents the reason for admission is CHF. The acuity comes first. The difference between acute and chronic or acute on chronic is mediation, lab values, and patient presentation. Symptoms such as a BNP over 100, increased shortness of breath, increased edema, lung sounds with crackles, orthopnea and an increase in diuretic dosage especially if the change is from oral to intravenous requires clarification if the patients are having an acute exacerbation. Next includes the identification of the type of heart failure such as systolic or diastolic CHF. Systolic heart failure includes patients with a reduced EF, while diastolic CHF are those with a preserved EF and diastolic dysfunction. There are also patients that have both diastolic dysfunction and a reduced EF. Identification of the type of heart failure is paramount, as treatment and medication choices can differ.