Abstract

Objectives: To embed an evidence-based intervention to manage FEver, hyperglycaemia (Sugar) and Swallowing (the FeSS protocols) in stroke, previously demonstrated in the Quality in Acute Stroke Care (QASC) trial to decrease 90-day death and dependency, into all stroke services in New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state.

Design: Pre-test/post-test prospective study.

Setting: 36 NSW stroke services.

Methods: Our clinical translational initiative, the QASC Implementation Project (QASCIP), targeted stroke services to embed 3 nurse-led clinical protocols (the FeSS protocols) into routine practice. Clinical champions attended a 1-day multidisciplinary training workshop and received standardised educational resources and ongoing support. Using the National Stroke Foundation audit collection tool and processes, patient data from retrospective medical record self-reported audits for 40 consecutive patients with stroke per site pre-QASCIP (1 July 2012 to 31 December 2012) were compared with prospective self-reported data from 40 consecutive patients with stroke per site post-QASCIP (1 November 2013 to 28 February 2014). Inter-rater reliability was substantial for 10 of 12 variables.

Primary outcome measures: Proportion of patients receiving care according to the FeSS protocols pre-QASCIP to post-QASCIP.

Results: All 36 (100%) NSW stroke services participated, nominating 100 site champions who attended our educational workshops. The time from start of intervention to completion of post-QASCIP data collection was 8 months. All (n=36, 100%) sites provided medical record audit data for 2144 patients (n=1062 pre-QASCIP; n=1082 post-QASCIP). Pre-QASCIP to post-QASCIP, proportions of patients receiving the 3 targeted clinical behaviours increased significantly: management of fever (pre: 69%; post: 78%; p=0.003), hyperglycaemia (pre: 23%; post: 34%; p=0.0085) and swallowing (pre: 42%; post: 51%; p=0.033).

Conclusions: We obtained unprecedented statewide scale-up and spread to all NSW stroke services of a nurse-led intervention previously proven to improve long-term patient outcomes. As clinical leaders search for strategies to improve quality of care, our initiative is replicable and feasible in other acute care settings.

Keywords

evidence-based intervention, acute stroke care, prospective study, stroke services, NSW (New South Wales), Australia

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/5/e011568.abstract

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