Nurse Practitioners May Not Reduce Hospital Readmissions

Although use of nurse practitioners may improve some areas of patient safety, such as timely discharge summaries, they may not necessarily improve hospital readmission rates, according to research published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

For their study, researchers randomly assigned one nurse practitioner to a resident team to complete discharge paperwork, arrange follow-up appointments and prescriptions, communicate discharge plans with nursing and primary care physicians and answer questions from discharged patients. The study took place for five months.


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At the end of the trial, researchers found that the nurse practitioner group had more discharge summaries completed within 24 hours; more follow-up appointments scheduled by the time of discharge; and more attended follow-up appointments within two weeks. The nurse practitioner group also saw higher patient satisfaction, more timely rounds and earlier resident sign outs.

Despite these improvements, the nurse practitioner group and the control group did not have a significant difference in 30-day emergency department visits or readmissions.

Related Articles on Hospital Readmissions:

High Readmission Rates Linked to Overall Hospital Admissions

Study: Third of Discharged Patients Don't Follow Up With Physicians Within 30 Days

Study: 1 in 4 Colon Surgery Patients Readmitted to Hospital at Cost of $300M a Year

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