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Nurse Practitioners in Long-Term Care

Jacqueline Riley, NP

“The Nurse Practitioner in Long-Term Care: Guidelines for Clinical Practice”, White & Truax, (2007) addresses the growing trend of utilizing the Nurse Practitioner in the Skilled Nursing Facility to manage patients as well as to serve as a practical resource for managing conditions commonly encountered within the geriatric patient population.

Within the nursing home setting, the Nurse Practitioner performs the initial admission assessment for new long-term care admissions, sub-acute rehabilitation patients, as well as make additional visits, which would be based upon the patient's need. Subsequent visits may be performed by the nurse practitioner alternating with the attending Physician. These visits by Nurse Practitioners offer patients improved access to care. They also offer time savings to the Physician with whom the Nurse Practitioner collaborates with.

Per Medicare guidelines, Nurse Practitioners can monitor and manage patient conditions, counsel patients and families, perform annual physical examinations, complete sixty and ninety day visits, communicate with hospital and community physicians to promote continuity of care and discharge patients.

Older patients suffer from multiple medical ailments so Nurse Practitioners, through their training, are taught to be aware of new symptoms, drug interactions, as well as other existing diagnoses that would affect the patient. The nurse practitioner works in conjunction with the attending physician, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, case managers, dietitians, nurses, and nurses’ aides.