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INTERACT Training Helps Local Care Center Reduce Readmissions

By: Paige Fieldsted, Sr. Communications Specialist, HealthInsight Utah

Reducing hospital readmission rates is a concern for care centers across the United States, but Highland Care Center in Salt Lake City, Utah has found a way to reduce readmission rates and keep them down.

After attending an INTERACT implementation training put on by HealthInsight-, Brittany Stapleton, director of nursing at Highland Care Center, decided to implement some of the core principles of HealthInsight’s INTERACT program at their facility.

The program encourages any staff member who sees a potential change in a resident’s condition to fill out a Stop and Watch form and report that change to the nurse.

“There was a lot of stress and worry that it would cause a lot of work for our nurses, “Stapleton said. “But we have had a very, very positive response. We have been able to catch several infections and ultimately reduce readmissions.”

Stapleton said they added an extra layer to their Stop and Watch implementation, requiring that the form be signed by two different nurses to make sure the concern, no matter how small, has been properly addressed. Any staff, from nursing assistants to physical therapists to kitchen staff, can report a problem or change if they see one.

“The small, subtle changes in residents can make a big difference in the outcomes for patients before advanced symptoms become noticeable, “ said Mindi Tippins, assistant director of nursing.

She said the program allows the staff who interact with residents the most to be able to report small changes in behavior, which allows nursing staff to catch potential problems sooner.

“We want to give the best care to our patients,” Tippins said. “We can’t prevent every readmission to the hospital but if we can prevent that traumatic event from happening, we want to do that. Early interventions require less aggressive treatments, have better outcomes and promote a better quality of life.”

In April, Highland Care Center’s 30-day readmission rate was 18.8 percent. Three months after the INTERACT program was implemented, the rate dropped to just 2.6 percent, and in October the readmission rate was less than 2 percent.

Implementing the program wasn’t easy and training was held every two hours for two weeks to make sure all staff, even those working the night shift, were able to receive training on how to fill out the form and what triggers to look for.

Stapleton says that any care center considering implementing some sort of Stop and Watch program shouldn’t be afraid of change. She said the change was a lot of work but good things have come from implementing the program.

“We have truly talented clinicians that are listening and identifying problems and being able to take care of them in house,” Stapleton said. “Look at how much we’ve changed. We went from sending nine patients back to the hospital each month, to sending only one, it makes a big difference.”

Highland Care Center has been a corporate pilot for the INTERACT readmission reduction program which will be implemented at other Eduro facilities in Wisconsin and Colorado.

“This is what is best for the residents,” said Jon Hammond, administrator at Highland Care Center. “This is a chance to do something right for the residents you serve, it’s something we should all be doing.”

For more information on the INTERACT training or Stop and Watch tool contact Larry Garrett at 801-892-6665 or Michelle Carlson at 801-892-6646.