Grant used to help seniors and cardiovascular patients

wajr_plugMORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Teams of WVU students will begin a project with the goal of reducing complications after a patient has surgery. Dr. Joanne Duffy is a School of Nursing endowed professor. She, two nursing faculty members, two physicians and a pharmacist will work with a $1.396 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Their research is designed to reduce the complications a particular patient group may experience after surgery.

“We’re focusing on older adults and cardiovascular surgery patients – both of whom are hospitalized during this study,” explained Duffy.

Q: What types of challenges do those patients face that made you want to develop more collaborative care and research and study that.
A: Both of these groups of patients often face serious complications and sometimes medical errors that are not always a result of the illness, but of the hospitalization itself. Older adults often use function like the ability to work or walk or care for themselves due to long periods of rest while they’re in the hospital. They have added pain due to this. Cardiovascular surgery patients are at increased risks for infection and increased surgical complications because of the emergency nature of their surgery in a lot of cases. Both groups are often readmitted because of these complications.

Faculty members from the WVU Schools of Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy, working at WVU Medicine’s Ruby Memorial Hospital, will evaluate a model, developed by Duffy, that uses a team-based, patient-centered approach to improve the patient experience and reduce costly complications from hospitalization. That includes infections, pain, decline in the patient’s ability to function normally in day-to-day activities, longer-than-normal hospital stays and repeat admissions to the hospital.

“What happens in health care is most health professionals are educated before they begin to practice in their own discipline. Then when they begin to practice in hospitals that are very busy, they practice within their own fields and view health care that way,” Duffy explained.

Q: How do you see the research you’re doing and WVU impacting health. What’s your goal?
A: We’re hoping more team based collaborative care really contributes to improving patient outcomes. We’re hoping to improve the experience of their hospitalization and decrease pain while they’re hospitalized. We’re also hoping to increase competencies of health professionals and raise awareness about their need for collaboration and give them skills to collaborate.