We examined the impact of a nurse-driven clinical pathway on length of stay (LOS) for children hospitalized with asthma.
We conducted a randomized controlled trial involving children hospitalized with asthma. Nurses of children in the intervention group weaned salbutamol frequency using an asthma scoring tool, whereas physicians weaned salbutamol frequency for the control group patients as per standard care. The primary outcome was LOS in hours. Secondary outcomes included number of salbutamol treatments administered, ICU transfers, unplanned medical visits postdischarge, and stakeholders’ pathway satisfaction. Research staff, investigators, and statisticians were blinded to group assignment, except for research assistants enrolling participants. Qualitative interviews were done to assess acceptability of intervention by physicians, nurses, residents, and patients.
We recruited 113 participants (mean age 4.9 years, 62% boys) between May 2012 and September 2015. Median LOS was 49 hours (21–243 hours) and 47 hours (22–188 hours) (P = .11), for the control and intervention groups, respectively. A post hoc analysis designed to deal with highly skewed LOS data resulted in a relative 18% (95% confidence interval 0.68–0.99) LOS reduction for the intervention group. There was no difference in secondary outcomes. No significant adverse events resulted from the intervention. The 14 participants included in the qualitative component reported a positive experience with the pathway.
This nurse-driven pathway led to increased efficiency as evidenced by a modest LOS reduction. It allowed for care standardization, improved utilization of nursing resources, and high stakeholder satisfaction.