After a firsthand experience of patients lack of understanding about their disease, a clinical transplant research nurse decided to do something about it. Jessica Saucier, RN, of Baylor Research Institute in Dallas launched an evidence-based project to help correct the issue.
“The literature shows that many Americans health is at risk because of the difficulty some patients experience in comprehending and acting upon health information,” Saucier said in a news release.
The RN created a low-health-literacy education module, which is focused on helping cirrhosis patients better understand their diagnoses. Surveys were given to patients before and after each module to assess their knowledge of the disease. At the end of the project, more than 40% of patients improved their health literacy, according to the news release.
Armed with the first study results, Saucier now has plans for a quantitative analysis phase, where she will pair her low-health-literacy module with a one-month follow-up after discharge. According to the news release, nurses will follow patients on a weekly basis, intervening when appropriate to ensure patients are observing and understanding their postdischarge care plan, and any medications or questions they should ask.
Motivated by the threat of readmission, Sauciers projects seek to find whether increasing follow-ups will decrease readmission rates effectively.
Saucier said she plans to continue her analysis of cirrhosis patients, citing statistics that show the prevalence of the disease has doubled during the past decade. Of those, one in five patients with liver disease is readmitted within a month of discharge, she said.
“As a nurse in the transplant unit, I have noticed a trend in the cirrhosis-diagnosed population,” Saucier said in the release. “Many are frequently readmitted and verbalize a lack of understanding about their plan of care.”