Date of Award

4-22-1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Department

College of Nursing

Abstract

Elderly trauma patients often experience prolonged hospital stays. This study was done to determine if a multidisciplinary team approach to patient care would decrease hospital length of stay (LOS) for elderly trauma patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Using a descriptive, correlational design, a convenience sample of 74 elderly patients aged 65 to 99 years was obtained from a trauma registry. The hypothesis that hospital LOS decreases for elderly trauma patients in the ICU who have a team approach to care was not supported using the t-test for independent means (t=1.6, df=72, p=.114). A second hypothesis proposed that the earlier that initial team assessment occurs the shorter the hospital LOS for elderly trauma patients in the ICU. This hypothesis was supported in relation to the clinical nurse specialist (CNS)(r=.36, p=.014) and the speech-language pathologist (r=.47, p=.001) using the Pearson's r correlation. This study supports early CNS interventions and nursing practice based on the Neuman Systems Model and affirms the role of the CNS in the multidisciplinary team management of the multiply injured patient.

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