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Kathy Bowles and team awarded 5-year NINR grant

The new study, I-TRANSFER, seeks to identify, understand and develop strategies for overcoming barriers to the implementation of effective clinical interventions. Specifically, I-TRANSFER is designed to address several barriers and gaps that may jeopardize the implementation of early post-acute surveillance among sepsis survivors. 

I-TRANSFER: Improving TRansitions ANd outcomeS oF sEpsis suRvivors (2R01NR016014-03, 2021-2026)

The study team led by Kathryn Bowles, includes Mark Mikkelsen, Deb Partha, Melissa O’Connor, Yolanda Barron-Vaya, Miriam Ryvicker, Nancy Hodgson, Karen Hirschman, and Erin Kennedy

Study Abstract: Acute care hospitals discharge over 1.5 million sepsis survivors annually. Sepsis survivors are twice as likely as non-sepsis patients to be readmitted within 30 days, with 32% of those readmissions occurring within 7 days. Annually, over one third of sepsis survivors transition to skilled home health care (HHC) after their hospitalization where nurses monitor for reinfection, support uninterrupted medication management, and work with patients, caregivers, other providers to support continued recovery. This proposed competing renewal is based on HHC best practice evidence generated by our previous study (R01NR016014) showing the value of early visits by registered nurses and early outpatient provider follow-up. We found that 30-day rehospitalization rates were 7 percentage points lower (a 41% relative reduction) when sepsis survivors received a HHC nursing visit within 2 days of hospital discharge, at least 1 more visit the first week, and an outpatient provider follow-up visit by 7 days compared to those without timely follow-up. However, nationwide, only 28% of sepsis survivors who transitioned to HHC received this early visit protocol because several barriers to achieving this protocol exist. To advance the science, the proposed study will test the effectiveness of this practice in the real world and study the implementation with a pragmatic, Type 1 hybrid, stepped wedge randomized trial in partnership with dyads of acute and HHC stakeholders. Aim 1: Test the effectiveness of the I-TRANSFER intervention compared to usual care on 30-day rehospitalization and emergency department use among sepsis survivors receiving home health care. The stepped wedge protocol will involve a baseline period with no intervention, and two steps where randomized dyads provide the intervention. In addition to the usual care/control periods from the dyad sites, additional survivors from national data will provide a much larger sample of control observations, weighted to produce covariate balance. The hypotheses will be tested using generalized mixed models with covariates guided by the Anderson Behavioral Model of Health Services. In aim 2 we will: Produce insights and generalizable knowledge regarding the context, processes, strategies, and determinants of I-TRANSFER implementation. The implementation aim is guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. As the largest HHC study of its kind and the first to transform this type of care through implementation science, the proposed study has the potential to produce new knowledge about the process of transition to and care in home health. If effective, the impact of this intervention during this common transition process could be widespread, improving the outcomes for a growing, vulnerable population of sepsis survivors. An Advisory Group of national experts will assist with widespread dissemination of the study results.