September 2011 VOL 2, NO 5

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Patient Education and Assistance

Education to Create Well-Informed Patients in a Women-Only Hospital Setting

Carol Paschall, RN; 

Background: At St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, we realized that patients were having trouble navigating the system, especially breast and surgical patients. In the past, breast patients were sent to our Breast Center for screening and received information on navigation services if abnormal results were noted. Then, they were not seen again until they returned for surgery. At current, we navigate Women’s Surgical Services patients (breast, gynecology, and urodynamic). The goal of our mission-driven organization is not just about getting patients in for services, but keeping them well informed and appropriately cared for along the way. “An educated patient does much better from an outcome standpoint if they know what to expect.”

Objectives: (1) Educate to the process women who are scheduled for surgery. (2) Keep in contact with the patient through the continuum of care. (3) “An educated consumer is a happy consumer.”

Methods: (1) Produce an education brochure to introduce the patient to the navigation process. (2) Cover frequently asked questions. (3) Produce a YouTube video and DVD to be handed out at the physician’s office at the time the decision was made to have surgery.

Results: At current, these 3 items are completed. In addition, a database was developed to track patients from beginning to end and help keep the navigator informed/on task.

Outcomes: Baseline: 0% navigated after breast biopsy. Target: Increase 50% by December 31, 2011; to 90% by December 31, 2012. Just installed database system July 1 (data incomplete). Baseline: Before March 15, 2010, 11% of patients were navigated to receive a Reach to Recovery volunteer visit. Reach to Recovery is an education program offered to patients to link them to the American Cancer Society for further information and hospital-based support programs. Target: After identifying that postsurgical breast patients were being missed due to decreased staff, the nurse navigator initiated a program to link more patients with Reach to Recovery. Current: In 2010, 77 (47%) patients received a Reach to Recovery volunteer visit. In 2011, the program is on track for an 84% increase in Reach to Recovery visits made before patient discharge. Conclusions: We closed the information gap, helped physician offices to streamline their surgical patients, created consistent messages/ patient education, and enhanced patient knowledge while improving outcomes.

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