Nurses transform discharge process at Rapid City Hospital

Nurses transform discharge process at Rapid City Hospital

 

Nurse Clinician Kayla Arnold, BSN, RN, CBC, and Nurse Manager LaToya Phillipe, BSN, RN, are passionate about their profession. So passionate that they spent the last two years researching, developing and implementing an evidence-based discharge process for patients at Rapid City Hospital. The process has decreased readmissions, increased communication between providers and patients and led to more patients leaving the hospital with thorough discharge instructions.

“We already felt empowered as caregivers at Regional Health, but this process has helped us feel that even more,” LaToya said. “We saw something we wanted to improve and we were able to facilitate that change.”

LaToya and Kayla spent many hours reviewing the literature, eventually focusing on the I.D.E.A.L. (Include, Discuss, Educate, Assess, Listen) Discharge Planning process from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The process was piloted on the Ortho-Neuro-Surgical unit in March of 2018 and was implemented hospital-wide in June of 2018.

The philosophy behind the I.D.E.A.L. process is that discharge planning and education should start as soon as the patient is admitted to the hospital – not on the day of discharge. The process involves a booklet that patients receive when they are admitted which helps them ask the right questions in the hospital so that they are successful once they get home. This also means patients are making fewer calls to the hospital after discharge, because they have already gotten those questions answered. “Patients have more time to think of questions before their last day and are more prepared to go home,” said Kayla.

The support of fellow caregivers was key to the project’s success. “The Patient Care Technicians were instrumental in explaining the booklets to the patients,” Latoya said. But also important was the encouragement they received from nursing leaders and mentors who helped them connect with the right people and encouraged them when they felt stuck. “We never doubted that we had the support of our leaders,” Kayla said.

The two women impressed colleagues across the United States last month when they presented a poster at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics 26th Annual Evidence-Based Practice Conference. Out of 87 posters, they won the Colleen J. Goode Research to Practice Award.

Kayla and LaToya will continue to re-evaluate the booklet and the outcomes of the process and hope to eventually offer it to other Regional Health locations. “We really need to see it through and ask ourselves, ‘Can we create something even better?’” LaToya said.

They agreed that they have grown a lot professionally through this process. But perhaps more important is the friendship they’ve built. And what could be better than working with one of your best friends?

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