We compared outcomes of acute neurology admissions in a single district general hospital for 2014, the year before the neurology nurse coordinator was appointed with 2015, the year after.
Referrals increased by 28% from 724 to 924. Admissions seen within 48 hours from referral increased from 89 to 97%. Average length of stay for patients referred to the acute neurology service over 6 months (March to August) in both years was 17 days with no significant change between the two years but with a significant fall from 3.6 days to 3.1 (p=0.04) in the 50% whose stay was short. Readmission rate within 30 days was no different in both years (20%).
As a result of faster discharge, 77 patients were contacted through a nurse led telephone clinic and 101 patients were given “hot clinic” appointments. Satisfaction with the service from the acute medical unit staff was greater than for all other major medical specialties.
There is no previous evidence for a role for specialist nurses in acute neurology, despite length of stay being a major NHS target. Our unique study has shown a senior nurse with appropriate skills can have dramatic effects on many key outcome indicators.
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