NEW KNOWLEDGE, INNOVATIONS, AND IMPROVEMENTS focuses on how clinical and operational practices are based on research, evidence-based practice, and innovation.
Valley Home Care’s New Graduate Nurse Residency Program
In 2022, Valley Home Care (VHC) welcomed its first nursing residents! VHC’s New Graduate Nurse Residency Program is a structured educational program designed to prepare newly graduated registered nurses in acquiring the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to care for patients at home and in the community.
Improving Perinatal Documentation – and Patient Satisfaction
GE’s Centricity Perinatal (CPN) Connect, now used by The Valley Hospital’s Labor & Delivery (L&D) team, is a software application that allows context sharing and bidirectional interface of perinatal information to flow freely into and out of Meditech in an integrated view, eliminating the need to document in different electronic systems simultaneously.
CPN Connect’s integration with Meditech’s L&D module provides many benefits to both clinical staff and patients, including:
- Enabling clinical staff to optimize their workflow
- Enhancing care coordination among members of the healthcare team
- Eliminating the potential lost data and documentation errors
- Improving the team’s ability to provide safe, quality care to patients when navigating multiple systems
- Improving the team’s data collection and tracking and reporting performance metrics, which are vital in helping the team deliver evidence-based care and improving perinatal outcomes for patients
- Boosting patient satisfaction by enabling the clinical team to devote more time to direct patient care, and less time to redundant documentation
“Nurses are critical to the integration of technology in our organization. It is important for our nurses to advocate for health information technology that meets their unique needs to provide quality care safely and efficiently.” – Jennifer Guzman, OB-RNC, C-EFM, Clinical Practice Specialist, Women’s & Children’s Services
Telehealth Mobile App Comes to Home Care
Valley Home Care (VHC) patients who require close monitoring have a new tool to help them stay in step with their vital signs – and in touch with their VHC team when needed.
VHC offers a convenient, easy-to-use telehealth app, available on smart phones and tablets, that allows patients and their family members to record their vital signs. This is particularly useful for cardiac patients and postpartum hypertensive patients, among others, who require monitoring of their weight, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.
On the clinical side, the app enables the VHC team to monitor vitals in real time and act upon abnormal readings immediately – making an in-person visit, calling the patient’s doctor to report findings, or making changes to the patient’s care or medications as appropriate. All of these actions may ultimately prevent the patient from returning to the hospital. In fact, reports show that re-hospitalization rates have decreased among VHC patients who use the telehealth app.
Thank you to the VHC nurses who were instrumental in the development and implementation of this technology:
- Elaine Davis, RN, Clinical Coordinator
- Carmen Makino, BSN, RN, Clinical Manager
- Rose Marie Ranuro, RN, MSN, CPNP, Director of Clinical Services
Scalp Cooling Minimizes Chemotherapy-Related Hair Loss
Hair loss is one of the most traumatic aspects of receiving chemotherapy. But patients at Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care may now be able to avoid this side effect of cancer treatment, thanks to the innovative Paxman scalp cooling system.
Cooling the scalp reduces blood flow to the scalp by about 40 percent. This means that hair follicles receive less blood that contains chemotherapy drugs, thereby protecting the follicles and minimizing hair loss.
Amanda Podolski, MD, medical oncologist, and Sandy Balentine, MSN, RN, OCN, facilitated the acquisition of this technology for patients at Valley, and trained the infusion nurses on the use of the equipment.
Removing Barriers to Kidney Disease Screening
Approximately 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), but nearly 90 percent of them are unaware. Screening is recommended at diagnosis for patients with hypertension to establish a baseline, and annually for patients with diabetes to monitor renal function. Could an at-home test remove barriers to getting this important screening?
That’s the question Josh Gregoire, MS, MPH, RN, LSSBB, NEA-BC, Assistant Vice President of Quality & Performance Improvement and Valley Medical Group Clinical Operations, and colleagues set out to answer in their poster presentation, “Exploring Implementation of a Home-Based Test for Kidney Disease: A Feasibility Study.”
This study evaluated a home-based urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR) test as a population health screening tool to facilitate timely identification of CKD in patients with hypertension and diabetes. The home kits yielded results within minutes, which were viewable on a companion smartphone app and sent to patients’ providers.
Of the 2,840 patients who received screening kits:
- Nearly half (49%) completed the at-home screen
- Sixty percent of screens were in the normal range (36% were abnormal, and 4% were high-abnormal)
Josh and colleagues concluded that:
- Home-based testing may facilitate a population health approach to the identification of CKD, resulting in earlier management of the disease.
- The home test may be a viable alternative to office-based testing when patients lack transportation or prefer to manage their health from home.
Advancing Research in Wound Care
With limited data on the utilization, safety, and efficacy of wound dressings under N95 respirators – an issue that came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic – Komal Saggu, MSN, APN-C, RN, CWOCN, a nurse practitioner at Valley’s Wound, Ostomy and Continence Center, and her colleagues conducted research to determine whether the seal of an N95 was compromised with different wound dressings.
The objective of the study was to provide recommendations for products that maintain the N95 seal and protect the skin from breakdown. Komal and the team tested 100 participants within The Valley Hospital and determined that all three protective dressings studied – liquid skin sealants, thin hydrocolloid dressings, and silicone fixation dressings – maintained an adequate seal on the N95 mask.
Their findings were submitted as a poster to the annual Northeast Region Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse’s Society Conference in Hershey, PA in November 2022, where it won first place in the research category! The poster was also submitted to the Magnet committee during Valley’s Magnet re-designation process.