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New Directions

Issue: Summer

Nurses Hold Key Role in Unique Care Model for Heart Patients

Nick Combs, RN (left) reports on a heart patient just hours after surgery during one of two daily rounds. With him are heart surgeon Keith Horvath, MD, and family members, who are integral to the success of the Universal Bed Model of Care.

Heart surgery patients at the NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital experience something that patients at other area hospitals will not. It’s called the Universal Bed Model. At most hospitals, a patient might transfer between units three to six times during a hospital stay, creating an increased risk for miscommunication and medical errors.

At Suburban Hospital, patients remain in the same room from surgery to discharge. Rooms are adjustable to the patients’ changing care needs and the care team remains consistent throughout the hospital stay. “Nurses on this unit have the breadth and depth of knowledge and ability to care for a patient from the critical stage to discharge,” says Kimberley Kelly, MBA, RN, CCRN, critical care nursing director. “Nurses get to know their patients and can detect more subtle changes in their condition as they move through the stages of recovery. It gives patients and family members greater peace of mind.”

The Universal Bed Model is associated with better patient outcomes and high patient satisfaction. According to the Society of Thoracic Surgery, from May 2006 through December 2010, the risk-adjusted mortality rate for coronary artery bypasses was 2.2% nationally and 1.6% for Suburban. The median post-op length of stay was 7.0 days nationally compared to 5.0 days for Suburban. The readmission rate was 10.1% nationally and 6.7% for Suburban.    

To Learnmore | Visit www.suburbanhospital.org/heart



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