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Patients Fair Better if They Can Make Choices during Their Care

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By Karen Guin

Studies show that more than a third of patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted after 30 days -- at great personal costs to the patients and financial costs to the nation's health care system.

Now a UCF study shows that readmissions are significantly lower if patients receive individualized follow-up care at home that allows them to make choices about their care.

"Choice" is one of eight principles used to guide patient care in Florida Hospital's Creation Health program, said Thomas Wan, principal investigator for the study and associate dean for research in the College of Health and Public Affairs.

The other principles are rest, environment, activity, trust, interpersonal relationships, outlook and nutrition.

Wan and a team of UCF graduate students, including five from COHPA, examined the impact of care aligned with the eight principles on hospitalizations and readmissions in heart-failure patients. A one-year, $165,000 grant from Florida Hospital funded their research.

The research team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trial results published in the scientific literature. 

"Human factors are important not only for the healing process but also for health services use and outcomes," Wan said. "The potential beneficial effects of Creation Health principles have yet to be empirically demonstrated. We provided the review and analysis of the empirical literature."

The research team recently completed its study and summarized its findings in a white paper submitted to Florida Hospital. The group's findings include: 1) care that enabled patients to make choices resulted in a 16 percent reduction of readmissions, 2) care that incorporated the principles of choice and activity and interpersonal relationships led to a 32 percent reduction in readmissions. Other combinations of principles also led to reductions in readmissions but the percentages were lower.

Wan said the grant supported the work of Amanda Terry, Bobbie McKee and Waleed Kattan in the Doctoral Program in Public Affairs, and Rebecca Tregerman ('16) and Sara Dos Santo Barbaro in the master's degree program in health services administration. UCF statistics student Xiaolin Wang also was a member of the research team.

"They were great contributors to this study," he said.

Wan has secured a new one-year, $150,000 grant from Florida Hospital to conduct a similar study focused on preventing hospital readmissions in patients who had a pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a joint replacement, an acute myocardial infarction or coronary artery bypass grafting. The new grant will fund research opportunities for UCF graduate students in 2016-17.

The researchers will author a white paper for each study they conduct for Florida Hospital, and subsequently submit the paper for publication in a scientific journal.

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