A mixed methods study to inform and evaluate a longitudinal nurse practitioner/community health worker intervention to address social determinants of health and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease self-management
BMC Pulm Med
Background: Individuals with low socioeconomic status experience higher prevalence and worse outcomes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We undertook a quality improvement initiative at our safety net hospital in which a nurse practitioner (NP)/community health worker (CHW) team followed patients with COPD, frequent admissions, and unmet SDOH needs from hospitalization through one month post-discharge. We report our mixed methods approach to inform development and preliminary evaluation of this intervention.
Methods: We first assessed characteristics of patients admitted with COPD in 2018 (n = 1811), performing multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with ≥ 2 admissions per year. We then tested a standardized tool to screen for unmet SDOH needs in a convenience sample of 51 frequently hospitalized patients with COPD. From January–July 2019, we pilot tested the NP/CHW intervention with 57 patients, reviewed NP/CHW logs, and conducted qualitative interviews with 16 patient participants to explore impressions of the intervention.
Results: Patients with Medicaid insurance, mental health disorders, cardiac disease, and substance use disorder had increased odds of having ≥ 2 admissions. COPD severity, comorbidities, and unmet SDOH needs made COPD self-management challenging. Seventy-four percent of frequently admitted patients with COPD completing SDOH screening had unmet SDOH needs. Patients perceived that the NP/CHW intervention addressed these barriers by connecting them to resources and providing emotional support.
Conclusions: Many patients with COPD admitted at our safety-net hospital experience unmet SDOH needs that impede COPD self-management. A longitudinal NP/CHW intervention to address unmet SDOH needs following discharge appears feasible and acceptable.
Kearney L, Wiener RS, Dahodwala M, et al. A mixed methods study to inform and evaluate a longitudinal nurse practitioner/community health worker intervention to address social determinants of health and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease self-management. BMC Pulm Med. 2022;22(1):74. Published 2022 Mar 1. doi:10.1186/s12890-022-01863-w PMID: 35232414 PMCID: PMC8889692