Safety Counts! a newsletter highlighting safety at Hallmark Health System

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Safety Counts September 2014 2014 - Download entire PDF by clicking here. 

Preventing rehospitalization through ongoing patient education

This spring, Hallmark Health System(HHS) unveiled a new inpatient education program designed to improve patients’ knowledge about their disease and prevent rehospitalization by fully preparing them for what to expect after discharge. The new program has four key elements:
Revamped admission and discharge packet. The “My health information” folder combines general hospital information and health information personalized for the patient.

Face-to-face education with handouts. “Clinicians teach patients throughout the stay,” said Karen Costigan, RN, BSN, NE-BC, Patient Care Director on Med 5 at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. “It’s important that patients have repetition to attain a good understanding of what is needed to manage their care when they are discharged.” The handouts provided are easy to understand and can be used as a reference for what has been taught in the hospital once the patient has been discharged.

Educational videos on demand. ”Nurses also assess how each patient best learns,” she added. “We have a comprehensive library of health education videos that can be played on-demand to best meet the needs of patients and families.”

Electronic documentation in the medical record. A new documentation screen in the Meditech health information system details the type of teaching conducted and materials provided and improves caregiver communication.

Materials are available in a number of languages. “By the time of discharge, the packet contains what the patient and family need to know to help them do well,” said Costigan. “The packet is also helpful to VNA and home care staff who can see what the patient learned and continue to reinforce what is needed.”

The bottom line is patient safety, said Costigan: “When patients don’t understand how to take the medication prescribed or how to care for themselves properly to prevent health issues, they are more likely to have problems and end up back in the hospital."


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