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MU study finds successful ways to reduce hospital admissions of St. Louis nursing home residents

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On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discusses ways to reduce hospital admissions from nursing homes with a University of Missouri nursing professor.

In 2011, one in four nursing home residents on Medicare was hospitalized. It’s an issue that impacts many facets of health care, from quality of life for nursing home residents to spending of taxpayer dollars, and on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with a University of Missouri Nursing School professor about ways to reduce avoidable hospital admissions.

Marilyn Rantz, curators professor emerita at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, has had success in reducing hospital admissions through an initiative she led with a population of Missouri-based nursing home residents.

It was part of a seven-site study across the country looking into whether such hospital transfers are really necessary. Missouri’s part in the study was called “Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes,” and was based out of the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. Sixteen nursing homes in the St. Louis area have been a part of this research study.

It found that many hospital transfers can and should be avoided. Sixty to 80 percent of unnecessary transfers were found to be for six diagnoses that could be prevented by early identification of acute changes in condition.

“When people experience transfers from nursing homes into the hospital, often times what happens is that it adds an additional layer of stress on someone already quite ill,” Rantz said. “It becomes even more physically and mentally stressful for the patient. If it can be managed from the home, recovery goes much faster and quicker.”

The Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes study found that placing advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in nursing homes had a positive impact on identifying the six diagnoses and reducing hospital admissions.

Listen as Rantz discusses the strategies she and her team have used to cut down on hospital admissions from nursing homes: 

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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