Parish nurses prevent hospital readmissions

The Health Beat column of Feb. 12 stated that “there is no single solution” to preventing hospital readmissions. The parish nurses/faith community nurses who are part of the Parish Nurse Ministry of New York have been educated as “transitional coaches” using the model developed by Dr. Eric Coleman of the University of Colorado in Denver.

Western New York parish nurses have successfully used this coaching with people in their faith communities, preventing readmissions, and have presented such cases at P2 Collaborative conferences. Parish nurses have an established rapport with their parishioners, are aware of their health needs and may have monitoring systems in place.

During hospitalization, if the discharge planner would contact the parish nurse, a transition plan could be established then, whereby the hospital, home care agency, patient and family would benefit from a clearly defined plan of care that the parish nurse could monitor on a one-to-one basis and intervene as necessary without providing hands-on care.

The Patient Privacy Act prevents communication without patient permission and parish nurses continually encourage patients and families to notify us when hospitalization occurs, and the hospital discharge planner could do the same.

Involving parish nurses as “transition coaches” for at least a month after discharge home has been proven to prevent some readmissions and should be considered by hospitals and insurers.

Jean King, R.N.

Parish Nurse, Zion United

Church of Christ