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Small N.C. study backs having NPs visit patients before their discharge to cut readmissions

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A very small pilot study done in North Carolina suggests that when   nurse practitioners visit Medicare patients in the hospital before discharge, readmission rates in the 30 days after discharge can be cut.

“It’s no longer the case that the primary-care provider takes care of the patient in the hospital,” investigator Katie Wingate, DNP, an adult-gerontological primary-care nurse practitioner at Kernersville Primary Care, in North Carolina, told Medscape.

“It’s strangers who do that now, and that’s terrifying. We’re sort of providing a familiar face for the patient. It’s pretty simple.”

Dr. Wingate has found that patients whose hospitalizations are not followed up by their primary-care provider are “10 times more likely to have a readmission.”

She tracked the 30-day outcomes of 10 elderly patients discharged from a local hospital who were part of a three-step care transition, which included a nurse practitioner visit during hospitalization.

“A lot of times, there’s a discharge coordinator, but that person isn’t typically the patient’s primary-care provider. That’s the most unique thing” about this intervention.

Dr. Wingate reported that none of the 10 study participants were readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge.

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