1 Dec

Precision Nursing Key to Lowering Readmission Rates of Black Patients

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research has suggested precision nursing and greater attention could reduce the readmission of black patients to hospital.

Compared to older white patients, research shows that older black patients are more likely to return to hospital following a hip or knee replacement surgery. According to the research group, the reasons for readmission are complex and could be resolved. When too many patients are readmitted, hospitals face financial penalties. The study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research believes that precision nursing and paying attention to a patient's needs will reduce the readmission rates dramatically.

While only 5.6 percent of white patients are readmitted to hospital following a joint-replacement surgery, 7.5 percent of black patients receiving the same surgery returned to hospital. Unbelievably, 40 percent more of black patients are readmitted than white patients.  One of the main arguments for precision nursing is the improvement in patients will be directly seen in lower readmission rates. The study showed nurses become overloaded with patients to care for leading to the readmission rates of patients increasing. Black patients were seven percent more likely to return to hospital post-operation.

The idea behind precision nursing is the practice gives nurses a greater opportunity to speak to their patients. By opening the lines of communication, nurses will know far more about their patients and be able to help them further during recovery. In addition, precision nursing gives practitioners the chance to see negative changes in patients. Many of these negative changes occur from infection and bleeding.

The research found that nurses averaged five patients at one time. However, some hospitals' nurses averaged nearly 10 patients during a shift. By adding precision nursing, these numbers would presumably decrease for nurses during their shifts. Despite the research and findings by the study, the group was unable to find out exactly why black patient readmissions are so high compared to white patients.

One reason that has been argued for black patients needing further medical attention is based on their past abilities to access medical care. Black patients may also lack the in-home support that white patients are able to receive. Both factors may lead to black patient returnees being so high.

Furthermore, some experts believe patients may not be aware of the post-operation care they will need at home. Once those patients return home they may not have the caregiver in place to provide them the help they actually need. Precision nursing could address these shortcomings and could reduce black patient readmission greatly.

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