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Continuity of Care in Nursing May Prevent Rehospitalization of Dementia Patients

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Key Takeaways

  • When there is consistency of nursing staff for home health care following a hospitalization, persons with dementia are less likely to be readmitted.
  • There was a range in continuity observed, with 8% of PWD receiving each nursing visit from a different nurse (no continuity) and 26% receiving all visits from one nurse during an HHC episode (full continuity).
  • PWD receiving low (first tertile) or moderate (second tertile) continuity of nursing care had higher odds of rehospitalization.

HealthDay News–When there is consistency of nursing staff for home health care (HHC) following a hospitalization, persons with dementia (PWD) are less likely to be readmitted, according to a study published in Medical Care.

Chenjuan Ma, Ph.D., from the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing in New York City, and colleagues used assessment, administrative, and human resources data from a large urban nonprofit home health agency to examine the association between continuity of nursing care in HHC and rehospitalization among PWD. Analysis included 23,886 PWD receiving HHC following a hospitalization.

The researchers found that 24% of PWD were rehospitalized. The mean continuity of nursing care score was 0.56. There was a range in continuity observed, with 8% of PWD receiving each nursing visit from a different nurse (no continuity) and 26% receiving all visits from one nurse during an HHC episode (full continuity). PWD receiving low (first tertile) or moderate (second tertile) continuity of nursing care had higher odds of rehospitalization (adjusted odds ratios, 1.33 and 1.30, respectively), compared to those receiving high continuity of nursing care.

“Continuity of nursing care is valuable for home health care because of its decentralized and intermittent care model,” Ma said in a statement. “While continuity of nursing care may benefit every home health care patient, it may be particularly critical for people with dementia. Having the same person delivering care can increase familiarity, instill trust, and reduce confusion for patients and their families.”

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