February 23, 2023

AHA Fellowship projects address delirium, workforce challenges, elderly care, heart disease

By: Lindsay Botts

Editor's Note

Capstone projects by the 2021-22 cohort of American Hospital Association’s Next Generation Leaders Fellowship focused on improving gaps in education and patient care.

The year-long capstone projects focus on key issues and challenges affecting healthcare affordability, cost, quality, and safety. Among the 2021-22 projects were delirium in the intensive care unit (ICU), nursing workforce challenges, elderly care, and heart disease in diabetic patients.

Improving delirium education in the ICU: Biren Kamdar, MD, of UC San Diego Health, developed a virtual playbook platform for ICU nurse education and training. As nearly half of ICU nurses reported no prior delirium education, the platform aims to decrease the educational gap and focuses on delirium management in older adult patients who are critically ill and receiving mechanical ventilation and sedative infusions.

A new staffing solution: The COVID-19 pandemic had significant impact on bedside nursing in Allegheny Health Network. Vacancies were up to 30%, as opposed to 8% to 9% pre-pandemic. To combat this issue, Alicia LaPalombara created Work Your Way, which offers nurses alternative work schedules and higher compensation. Nearly 800 team members opted in to the new program. Both those who participated and those who did not benefitted from the program, and managers reported higher retention rates.

Cultivating age-friendly healthcare: Tripp Grooms of Atrium Health Cabarrus established the ACE task force (Acute Care for Elderly), to develop care pilots that address each of the Age-Friendly Health Systems 4Ms framework. As a result of the program, patients had improved mobility compliance, fewer inpatient falls, and reduced length of stay and readmission.

Heart disease intervention in type 2 diabetes: Christina Johnson, MD, created a cross-functional team at one of Atlantic Health System’s outpatient facilities to improve care management among patients with type 2 diabetes. The team implemented interventions such as diabetic education and specialist evaluation among this patient population, which resulted in nearly half of participants experiencing a lower A1C level, and lower A1C levels were also reported in 50% of patients with A1C greater than 9%.

The AHA Next Generation Leaders Fellowship focuses on honing skills among healthcare leaders to bring lasting change to hospitals and health systems. Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are open now.


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