Healthcare News & Insights

Group sessions help discharge education sink in

If you want to find out how to reduce your readmission rate in your cardiovascular patient population, just ask South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, NY. 

83405528For years studies have shown that providing patients with the education and tools they need to self-manage their conditions once they are discharged is key to reducing re-admissions in heart failure (HF) patients.

Problem with discharge

The problem is, patient education usually takes place right before the patient is discharged.

Why is this a problem?

Patients and their families are anxious to leave and get home, and have trouble focusing. And often a lot of information is crammed into a short period of time. This isn’t a good combination.

It’s often the case that the information goes in one ear and out the other.

One facility’s success

So how can hospitals fix this? Follow the lead of South Nassau Communities Hospital.

Cardiovascular leaders at the facility supplement traditional one-on-one bedside delivery with group HF education sessions, reported The Advisory Board Company.

The initiative came about when HF leaders found their traditional discharge education to be inadequate, since busy physicians often rushed through the process while patients were still in the inpatient unit. So they added a group discharge education program that takes place right after discharge. The program is voluntary and it consists of a one-hour education session for patients and their families that takes place in a non-clinical setting.

Four patients and their families meet together with a multidisciplinary team that includes a cardiovascular nurse, a dietitian and home care staff, who  reinforce the importance of self-management strategies. 

Program results

HF patients have reported that they are highly satisfied with the group session rating them a 4.6 on a 5-point scale on average. They’ve also noted that they feel comforted by the meeting, because they get to meet other patients who are facing the same challenges and they’ve even formed support networks.

The benefit to the nurses and other educators is that they maximize their time by teaching self-management skills to four patients at once.

As far as the hospital’s readmission rates go, researchers noted they’ve seen “a drastic reduction in readmissions as a result of the program.” In fact, the 90-day readmission rate for the group discharge session patients is 18%, but for HF patients receiving standard discharge instructions the readmission rate is 32%.


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