Tailoring Care; Nurses play a pivotal role in caring for hospitalized patients with social risk factors and preparing them for discharge. Now, a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) illustrates how certain health system constraints present barriers to effective care and impact outcomes for patients with high social risks.
Acute care nurses’ close proximity with patients and families during an inpatient admission; so position them to assess social risk factors and tailor care accordingly. A small but growing number of studies however, suggest that organizational factors; such as inadequate staffing and poor work environments; so limit the ability of nurses to address the increasingly
complex care needs of hospitalized patients.
Social risk factors
These findings belie an important question. Does providing additional care for patients with complex social risk factors; which present an add challenge for nurses? To our knowledge no studies have explore nurses experiences of care; so provision for socially at risk patients; nor have barriers been explored. Our interest in improving care delivery and outcomes for hospitalize socially at-risk patients; which led us to explore the organizational supports that facilitate or impede nurses’ ability to provide personalize care for this patient population.
Understanding nurses’ perceptions of factors; so that influence their ability to care for patients with social risk-factors may yield important information; which is about how to best tailor care to provide optimal patient outcomes. For nurses, organizational factors such as adequate staffing levels; also supportive work environments have long been link to patient outcomes. Higher nurse staffing levels for example; which are associate with lower mortality and readmissions, and fewer pressure ulcers and falls.
Similarly, nurses in good work environments have greater autonomy; so excellent collaborative relationships with other members of the healthcare team; also exceptional communication with colleagues, all of which empower a nurse’s ability to meet patient care needs. While the relationship between adequate organizational support; patient outcomes is well established, less is known about how these factors influence nurses’ ability to tailor care for socially a-risk patients.
The tailoring care
Few studies have explore whether acute care nurses are adequately support in their practice environments to address the unique needs of socially at risk patients as they transition back into community settings. Our findings suggest that prioritization of medical needs during acute care hospitalization and lack of organizational supports may deter nurses from fully addressing social concerns.”
The outcomes of the qualitative study appear in an article title “You Only Have Time For So Much in 12 Hours – Unmet Social Needs of Hospitalize Patients: A Qualitative Study of Acute Care Nurses,” publish online in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. The article suggests that while the development of new initiatives to address social risk is of value, care must be take not to increase the burden place on nurses or the health team.
“Nurses routinely include evaluations of the social risk factors as part of patient assessments; however, tailoring care to meet these additional needs may require changes to nursing workflow and traditional clinical roles,” said Brooks Carthon. The study concludes with recommendations for hospital base initiatives that aim to address the needs of socially at-risk patients to “incorporate the perspectives of patients and health care providers as collaborators in intervention design.”