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MHIRT Research Projects at the Institute of Nursing Science at the Private University Witten/Herdecke, Germany

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Dr. Elke Donath Bio

Mr. Andreas Buescher Bio

Universitat Witten-Herdicke

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Project 1: Quality and Counseling in Home Care Under the Long-Term Care Insurance
The project is dedicated to the improvement of obligatory counseling visits conducted by nurses to support family caregivers and care-recipients in the care giving process. The project is funded by the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of Northrhein-Westfalia. Andreas Buescher is the Principal Investigator in this project. Bernhard Hollem, MScN is the Project Coordinator.

Student Activities:

  • Students will learn about the long-term care system in Germany that offers a defined set of benefits to all citizens. The system is intended to provide universal coverage for the whole population for the life risk of being in need of care.
  • Within the project students will learn about the different stakeholders in the German long-term care system. In terms of research activities students will participate in data collection and analysis. The project has a quantitative and a qualitative research approach. In the third phase a newly developed counseling intervention will be evaluated.
  • Together with students international publishing activities will be discussed and initiated.

Project 2: Individualized Funding in Home Care
Based on a critique of the existing reimbursement scheme for home care nursing services in Germany this project aimed at implementing and evaluating a new scheme. Under the existing scheme within the long-term care and sickness insurance home care nursing is reimbursed according to so called performance packages or individual nursing tasks such as, giving an injection‚ washing somebody, assisting somebody with toileting, etc. Each package or activity has a particular price that is negotiated between providers and insurances. The problem of this scheme is the fragmentation of home care nursing delivery and the fact that nursing interventions that are not listed in the catalogue of performance packages are not subject to reimbursement by the insurances. These interventions are therefore hardly likely to occur. This project is funded by a private foundation. Andreas Büscher is the principal investigator.

Student Activities:

  • Like in the first project students will learn about the organization of a particular long-term care system, particularly in the area of home care. Although the main part of the project is already finished we are working on further developments to strengthen home care nursing delivery. Within existing governmental funding programmes further research proposal will be written and students will learn about that. This implies to gain knowledge about research programmes and structures.
  • International publishing activities will be discussed and initiated.

Project 3: DRG Related Organizational and Structural Consequences

The effects which have Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) for nursing are much discussed by nurses presently. The criticism of nursing experts is directed mainly against missing illustration and recognition of nursing in the payment-system of the German health-care system. The research project is focusing on the question whether and how nurses work structures and work conditions are changing during the introduction of the DRGs in hospitals. The principal investigators are Prof. Dr. Sabine Bartholomeyczik, Dr. Elke Donath, and Cleo Nonn, MScN, and a group of 10 students. The research project designed as a so called “Evidence Based Nursing Projects” is part of the curriculum of the Bachelor Study program in Nursing Science.

Student activities:

  • Students will learn the differences of the German DRG-System and other international reimbursement models.
  • Although the main part of the three years project is mainly finished, we are working on data analysis, date interpretation and presentation.
  • They will be involved in the organization of a final workshop to present the results to selected target groups.
  • International publishing activities will be initiated.

Project 4: Workload Conditions in Hospitals

Based on legal reforms in the German health care sector in 2000 and in connection with those reforms, the forced implementation of the new reimbursement system (G-DRGs) the pressure to reduce costs and to initiate structural and process oriented activities is increasing in the hospitals. 

Those changes do have a major impact on the workload and the personal situation of nurses and doctors. The research project is dedicated to initiate in three hospitals organizational development changes based on a detailed analysis of the present situation of nurses and doctors. The project is funded by the German governmental institution: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (Institution of work protection and occupational medicine.) Professor Dr. Sabine Bartholomeyczik, Dr. M. Rieger and Dr. Elke Donath are the principal investigators

Student Activities:

  • Students will assist to analyze and interpret data of three participating clinics, they will accompany research staff on monitoring visits during the intervention phase, they will participate interacting with the research team in discussions of and results and necessary support activities.
  • They will be assisted to understand the context of the interventions.
  • They will be familiarized with theories and methods to support change management projects and the will assist in evaluating the outcome of the interventions.
  • The students will participate in team discussions and they will work on an international publication of the results.

Project 5: Young Caregivers
This project investigates the meaning and construction of family care giving provided by children and young adolescents. The situation of children as family caregivers has not been addressed in Germany and in many other countries and therefore not very much is known about the impact of care giving on children and young adolescents. Following the first part of the project that focused the exploration of the phenomenon the second part will focus on the development of adequate interventions. The principal investigators are Prof. Dr. Wilfried Schnepp and Sabine Metzing. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Research.

Student activities:

  • Students will gain insight into the life circumstances of a particularly highly vulnerable group and will be part in the development of adequate interventions and their evaluation.
  • They will participate in literature searches, data collection and analyses.

Project 6: Tandem-Practices 
Education as nurse intervention to increase self-care in patients with venous leg ulcers. This project investigates an interdisciplinary approach on leg-ulcer care. In Germany nurses usually do not practice as independent practitioners, despite the recognition that General Practitioners are not in a position to cover all needs of their patients. This project is intended to evaluate the role and effectiveness of nurses practicing in collaboration with physicians in leg-ulcer care. The principal investigators are Prof. Dr. Schnepp, Dr. Rieger, and Oliver Herber.

Student activities:

  • Students will learn about an intervention study that is accompanied by evaluating a new role of nurses.
  • They will participate in activities of data collection and analyses and in publishing activities.