To the hospital and back home again: a nurse practitioner-based transitional care program for hospitalized homebound people

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Mar;59(3):544-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03308.x.


Homebound older adults may receive suboptimal care during hospitalizations and transitions home or to postacute settings. This 2-year study describes a nurse practitioner (NP)-led transitional care program embedded within an existing home-based primary care (HBPC) program. The transitional care pilot program was designed to improve coordination and continuity of care, reduce readmissions, garner positive provider feedback, and demonstrate financial benefits through shorter length of stay, lower cost of inpatient stay, and better documentation of patient complexity. A detailed mixed-methods evaluation was conducted to characterize the hospitalized homebound population and investigate provider feedback and program feasibility, effectiveness, and costs. Length of stay (LOS), case-mix index, and admission-related financial costs were compared before and after the intervention using a pre-post design. Structured focus groups were conducted with inpatient and primary care providers to collect feedback on the usefulness of and satisfaction with the program. The program improved communication between home-based primary care providers and inpatient providers of all disciplines and facilitated the timely and accurate transfer of critical patient information. The intervention failed to decrease hospital LOS and readmission rate significantly for people who were hospitalized. The financial implications were reassuring, although future studies are necessary. This model of a NP-led program may be feasible for enhancing inpatient management and transitional care for older adults in HBPC programs and should be considered to augment the HBPC care model.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Female
  • Homebound Persons*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires