Recent Research About Nursing, January 2011

New studies examine the effectiveness of nurse-led teams in helping patients manage multiple chronic conditions, and gauge nurses' impact on patients' medication adherence.

    • January 27, 2011

Nurse-Led Teams Improve Patient Management of Multiple Health Problems

New research finds that nurse-led teams do a better job of helping patients manage multiple chronic conditions than traditional follow-up approaches.

Published in the December 30, 2010, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the research focused on patients who suffered from depression, as well as heart disease or poorly controlled diabetes, or both. Researchers compared treatment among two groups of patients: those who received standard follow-up care in the primary care setting, and those who took part in collaborative care in which nurses worked with them to set specific goals for reducing depression, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. After one year, patients in the collaborative group had better results on all four measures.

“Depressed patients with multiple uncontrolled chronic diseases are at high risk of heart attack, stroke and other complications,” said lead study author Wayne J. Katon, M.D., vice chairman of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. “We are excited about finding a new way to help patients control these chronic diseases, including depression.”

Nurses Persuasive on Medication Adherence

A new study examining a range of methods for getting patients to stay on their medications finds that pharmacists and nurses are the most likely to have a positive impact.

Sponsored by CVS Caremark and published in the American Journal of Managed Care, the study examined 40 years of published research in medical journals. Authors concluded that in-person advice from pharmacists was most effective at keeping patients on their medicine, with conversations with hospital nurses the next most effective. Both were more effective than face-to-face conversations with prescribing doctors, telephone conversations with pharmacists, and various communications via mail, fax or brochure.

These findings offer payers, health care providers and policy-makers guidance about how to develop programs that improve patient adherence," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, and a study author. "We know that pharmacists and nurses are among the most trusted health care professionals. This study shows that trust translates into effective patient communications."

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