A new study conducted by researchers at the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri has found that training APRNs to lead health care teams and coordinate care in nursing homes can lead to a decrease in hospitalizations for nursing home patients related to falls, dehydration, and other health issues. Given that the 65+ population is projected to double in size by the year 2050, according to the U.S. Census, this find is promising not only for elderly patients, but for APRNs themselves, as they fight for full practice authority, as well as for the healthcare industry, which continues to struggle against a shortage of providers.
The MU nursing research team, now in its fifth year of the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes, had APRNs routinely document the actions they took to improve care in nursing homes, related to problem areas in “basic” care needs such as mobility, hydration, medication management, and communication.
Some of actions taken by APRNs that proved successful included:
- Identifying fall risks and solutions to them through fall huddles with nursing home staff.
- Implementing hydration stations throughout the nursing home to encourage family, friends, and staff to assist in keeping patients hydrated.
- Monitoring blood pressure and adjusting medications as needed.
- Working with licensed social workers to coordinate care procedures and discussions on end-of-life goals.
In total, 12 of the 16 facilities participating in the program reported reductions in hospitalization rates after hiring an APRN.
More on the researchers’ findings can be found in the July/September issue of the Journal of Nursing Care Quality.
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