A Relational View of Hospital and Post-acute Staff Communication and Adherence to Evidence-based Transitional Care

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Submitted by Sadie Strassman on Aug 1, 2016 - 11:59am CDT

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This descriptive research used social network analysis to explore the influence of relationships and communication among hospital nursing (RN, LPN, CNA) and discharge planning staff on adherence to evidence-based practices (EBP) for reducing preventable hospital readmissions. Although previous studies have shown that nurses are a valued source of research information for each other, there have been few studies concerning the role that staff relationships and communication play in adherence to evidence-based practice. The investigator developed the Relational Model of Communication and Adherence to EBP from diffusion of innovation theory, social network theories, relational coordination theory, and quality improvement literature.

The study sample consisted of 10 adult-medical surgical units, five home care agencies and six long-term care facilities. A total of 273 hospital nursing and discharge planning staff and 69 post-acute staff participated. Hospital staff completed a survey about communication patterns for patient care and patient discharge and about communication quality on the unit. Hospital and post-acute care staff completed surveys about relationship quality and demographic characteristics. Evidence-based practice adherence rates for risk assessment, medication reconciliation, and discharge summary were measured as documented in the electronic medical record.

Social network analysis was used to analyze the communication patterns for patient care communication at the unit. These findings were correlated with (1) aggregate responses for communication quality, (2) aggregate responses for relationship quality, and (3) EBP adherence. Statistically significant relationships were found between communication patterns, and communication quality and relationship quality. There were ii two significant relationships between communication quality, and EBP adherence. Limitations in response rates and missing data prevented the analysis of all of the hypothesized relationships.

The findings from this study provide empirical support for the role of social networks and relationships among staff in adoption of, and adherence to, EBP. Social network theory and social network analysis, especially the concept of knowledge sharing, provide ways to understand and leverage the influence of peer relationships. Future studies are needed to better understand the contribution that relationships among staff (social networks) have in the adoption of and adherence to EBP among nursing staff. Further model development and multilevel studies are

Solomons, Nan M., Ph.D.