Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Mirella V. Brooks
Heart failure (HF) hospital readmission reductions are linked to nursing interventions that include scheduling a hospital follow-up appointment with the patient's health care provider within a week of discharge. Yet, patients often leave the hospital without an appointment scheduled. The focus of this integrative literature review was on analyzing data that associated follow-up within 7 days with reduced 30-day readmissions. A search of articles using CINAHL, MEDLINE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and ProQuest databases resulted in 4,813 articles retrieved using the following search terms: heart failure, readmissions, follow-up appointments, and heart failure guidelines. Scholarly articles selected for inclusion were published between January 1, 2007, and June 30, 2017, in the English language, regarding studies completed in the United States, available online in full text, and specific to patients with HF. The Melnyk Critical Appraisal Guide was used for the appraisal, evaluation, and synthesis of the evidence. The transitional care model served as the theoretical framework for the project. A key finding of the review was that follow-up appointment scheduling within 7 days was associated with a modest reduction in readmissions; more research is needed to produce additional evidence on this topic. Project dissemination may result in positive social change by raising awareness of health disparities and empowering patients and staff to work collaboratively. Through improved communication and follow-up between patients and the interdisciplinary team, patients with HF may be able to experience improved disease management and a reduced number of hospitalizations.