In the healthcare setting, it is not uncommon to encounter common problems and difficulties that affect patient care and outcomes. This paper aims to discuss two major problems that are prevalent in many healthcare facilities: high readmission rates for patients on the behavioral health unit and nurse burnout leading to staff shortages. These issues have significant implications for patient care, facility finances, and the well-being of healthcare professionals.
Problem 1: Readmission Rates for Behavioral Health Patients:
One major problem commonly encountered in healthcare facilities is the high readmission rates for patients on the behavioral health unit. This issue is particularly prevalent in Texas, where there is a lack of options for mental health outpatient care, especially for indigent individuals. As a result, case managers and social workers face challenges in finding appropriate follow-up care for these patients. It is important to note that Medicare’s policies stipulate reduced funds for certain diseases if patients are readmitted within 30 days, and behavioral health patients often fall under this category (CMS, 2020).
One nursing implication to address this issue is to prioritize teaching patients about medication management as soon as they are admitted. By empowering patients to understand their symptoms, manage their conditions, and seek therapy to address the underlying causes, they can better cope with their problems at home and receive support from their families or friends. Additionally, involving the patient’s family in their care and medication management can aid in managing behavioral issues. Furthermore, collaboration with the patients’ primary care physicians for follow-up treatments can help ensure continuity of care.
Problem 2: Nurse Burnout and Staff Shortages:
Another pervasive problem in healthcare facilities is nurse burnout, which often leads to staff shortages. Due to inadequate staffing levels, nurses are frequently required to work overtime, resulting in burnout and eventually leading some nurses to change departments or quit altogether. This problem is not exclusive to a particular unit but affects many departments within healthcare facilities.
A nursing implication to address this problem is to focus on building team morale. Nurses experiencing burnout should be encouraged to talk to their team leads or supervisors and express their feelings. It is vital for managers in healthcare units to recognize the importance of maintaining optimal staffing levels and consider utilizing PRN employees or hiring additional PRN staff to fill in the gaps in the schedule. Although funding constraints may limit these options, advocating for the unit and reaching out to the float pool can help provide full-time nurses with much-needed time off.
In conclusion, readmission rates for behavioral health patients and nurse burnout leading to staff shortages are two significant problems commonly faced in healthcare facilities. Addressing these issues requires a multidimensional approach, including patient education, involving families in care, collaboration with primary care physicians, and focusing on team morale. Additionally, proactive measures such as utilizing PRN staff and advocating for optimal staffing levels can help mitigate the effects of nurse burnout. By addressing these problems effectively, healthcare facilities can improve patient outcomes, enhance staff satisfaction, and ensure the delivery of high-quality care.