NNCC has selected Aspirus Langlade Hospital Kidney Care in Antigo, WI, as the recipient of its first Quality Improvement Award.
Renal Dietitian Toni Pflieger, RD, CD, and Kidney Care Manager Jesus Almeida, BSN, RN, CNN, submitted an application for the project, "Two for the Road - Protein Supplement Program,” for the 2019 award. The goal of their nutrition project, which began in August 2018, was to improve albumin levels of patients who qualify for protein supplementation.
According to Pflieger and Almeida, the program was launched because many patients on the protein supplement program didn’t eat before their dialysis treatment or didn’t have a quality source of protein with their meal.
“We wanted to provide protein before and after dialysis to give patients a net gain in protein and promote a positive nitrogen balance,” they said.
Pflieger and Almeida knew that once the albumin levels were improved, patients would have stronger immune systems resulting in better wound healing, overall health, and quality of life.
They achieved their goal. Monthly albumin levels rose and reached the levels specified by CMS guidelines. There was another positive outcome of the program: Thanks to the faster improvement in albumin levels, Pflieger and Almeida said they were able to remove patients from the protein supplementation program.
In their application, Pflieger and Almeida shared advice for others.
“Never give up on quality improvement for your dialysis patients,” they wrote. “Looking at the patient as a whole and not just lab results, improves patient care.”
About the Award
NNCC developed the Quality Improvement (QI) Award to recognize an individual or organization participating in a QI project that promotes optimal patient outcomes in nephrology. Award recipients are chosen each summer. The recipient organization receives the award during a ceremony at their facility in September.
The award is presented personally by the NNCC President or an NNCC commissioner. Recipients receive $1,000 and an engraved plaque. A poster featuring a picture of the winning individual or organization is also displayed at the NNCC exhibit booth at national meetings and announced in all NNCC publications.