Nursing Symposium features innovative best practices

Jennifer Cohn, MSN, CNRN, FAHA

Jennifer Cohn, MSN, CNRN, FAHA

The State-of-the-Science Stroke Nursing Symposium returns to the International Stroke Conference 2014. The slate of Feb. 11 presentations will update and inform participants about nursing issues along the continuum of stroke care — from ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke management, to rehabilitation, to program development. The goal is to share innovative best clinical practices that have been developed to optimize patient outcomes.

“The field of neuroscience nursing is on a high trajectory, and it’s an exciting time to be a neuroscience nurse. We continue to push the envelope because we want to treat as many patients as possible. We need to look at how we can provide the best care at the bedside, so our patients have the best outcomes,” said Symposium Chair Jennifer Cohn, MSN, CNRN, FAHA.

The day will kick off with the naming of the Stroke Article of the Year, which will be followed by two morning presentations: “Acute Stroke: Burning Issues Surrounding Depression and Stroke” and “Transitions of Care: Implementing Processes for Obtaining Follow-up after Hospital Discharge.” The afternoon will bring four concurrent programs, with more offerings than last year, for a total of 10 talks and 22 oral abstract presentations.

Depression and stroke, transitions of care

The Planning Committee sought to bring the issue of stroke and depression to this year’s symposium. A panel of six will describe the timing of depression assessment, the use of screening tools, and the importance of screening for successful rehabilitation from work at two Comprehensive Stroke Centers.

“With improved treatment options for acute stroke and the high rate of recurrent strokes, it is increasingly important to identify factors that might help to improve health outcomes. In addition to physiologic changes, post-stroke depression is estimated to occur in 25 percent to 75 percent of stroke patients. However, PSD is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. PSD may contribute to decreased physical and cognitive functioning, decreased health-related quality of life, and deterioration of mobility after stroke,” said Cohn, Clinical Director at St. Vincent Neuroscience Institute, Indianapolis.

The transitions of care discussion will look at processes at three hospitals. Speakers from large to small community hospital settings will share pearls of success from varying processes and quality metrics.

“This area is growing with regard to how we can decrease our readmissions and improve our quality post-discharge, all while knowing that we have such a limited time with our patients,” Cohn said.

Concurrent program

The three offerings in Concurrent A, “Advances in Clinical Research and Quality Improvement,” will highlight quality improvements projects being offered at the bedside.

“It will be exciting to see the work that’s being done at different hospitals and how we have evolved in our treatment and care of stroke patients by continuing to raise the bar and improve care,” Cohn said.

In Concurrent B, “Essentials of Standard Clinical Practice and Stroke Center Development,” two presentations will focus on transitions of care in a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the use of multimodal monitoring in the detection of stroke and its sequela.

“For first-time attendees or those who are starting a new project, these abstracts will tackle some of the issues that they will need to work through as they journey toward becoming and maintaining their status as a Comprehensive Stroke Center,” Cohn said.

The speakers in Concurrent C, “Rehabilitation and Recovery: An Ongoing Process,” will describe long-term management of stroke patients, as well as functional electrical stimulation and neuromodulation in stroke rehabilitation.

“They will talk about taking the patient across the continuum of care and what that handoff should look like — from the inpatient to the discharge setting to improve the success for the patient and the family post-discharge,” Cohn said.

Concurrent D, “Application of Evidence-based Practice,” offers three presentations. The first will cover advancing stroke science through nursing research.

“The inception of stroke centers, improved hospital infrastructure, and a national movement to Get With The Guidelines has drastically improved the delivery of stroke treatments and will facilitate the introduction of novel stroke interventions into clinical practice,” Cohn said. “Yet there is much to be discovered and implemented to improve the functional outcomes of stroke patients. Nurse scientists and practitioners are well positioned to investigate and implement stroke science along the continuum of stroke care.”

In the second talk about translating evidence into practice, speakers will show how nurses are taking the lead in translating evidence and best practices into stroke care.

“A review of the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing Report will highlight four key messages important to the professional practice of a neuroscience nurse that can be the groundwork leading to translating evidence into practice,” Cohn said.

The concurrent session will wrap up with an examination of nursing care protocols for craniectomy.

Bringing it home

“At the end of the day, I hope attendees go home with projects they can apply in their own practices. I hope they realize that they are an elite group of nurses and that we are doing exciting things every day,” Cohn said. “This is a venue where they can share their work and talk with people who understand the battles they fight.

“Stroke can be a difficult field, but it is most rewarding when you see a patient come through the other side, whether it be right after a key intervention and they’ve recovered before your eyes, or after rehab. I hope they leave excited about the care that we give every day and inspired by what they’ve learned.”