At the end of 2023, CNF awarded three $25,000 to institutions taking on quality improvement projects aimed at improving health outcomes for children with neurologic conditions for a grant period that will end in Fall 2024. One of those grants was awarded to Novak Centre: Norton Children’s Medical Group in Louisville, Ky.
Dr. Karia is a pediatric epileptologist who treats mostly teenagers at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. He serves as the Co-Director of Norton Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Program and the Director of Norton’s Children’s Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic.
Dr. Karia and his team, including resident Dr. Ayush Gupta, are using the CNF grant funding to assign the department’s epilepsy social worker as a specific care coordinator to help keep in touch with patients with a high risk of hospital readmission. This will assist in better coordination of care for these children.
As Dr. Gupta told CNF: “epilepsy is a complex disease…many of these kids not only have seizures but also concomitant developmental issues, ADHD, Autism, depression, learning disabilities, and sleep issues to name a few. At the same time, many of these patients require multiple medication trials and multiple procedures like neuroimaging and periodic EEGs. If any of these steps are missed, there is a chance that these patients will end up in the hospital, leading to more expenses for the family and healthcare in general. Care coordination is very important to keep these things well organized and make sure that these things are done timely and correctly.” In addition, the team will work with other health providers like triage nurses and hold monthly department meetings to work to improve the quality of care coordination for young people with epilepsy.
The goal of this project is to reduce visits to the emergency department at Norton Children’s Hospital by 25% over 6 months by working to provide better care coordination resulting in fewer uncontrolled seizures and other epilepsy-related accidents. Patients themselves will receive education and resources from the team, including seizure action plans, recognition of danger signs, and a reassurance of when to come to the emergency department. Patients will have a direct line to the clinic social worker who will be the main care coordinator for this project.
“We can see this model of care reducing hospital bills and improving quality of care for patients at risk of frequent readmissions,” Dr. Gupta told CNF about the project’s impact. “Through access to our clinical social worker, we hope to bypass economic barriers to clinic visits, like transportation costs or insurance or prescription refill issues. The social worker care coordinator can function as a bridge between these patients with epilepsy and providers. These process improvements can go a long way in reducing epilepsy-related admissions.”