Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics, Nursing / 11.12.2014

Karen Dorman Marek, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN Bernita 'B' Steffl Professor of Geriatric Nursing Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation Phoenix, AZ 85004-0696MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karen Dorman Marek, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN Bernita 'B' Steffl Professor of Geriatric Nursing Arizona State University College of Nursing & Health Innovation Phoenix, AZ 85004-0696 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many older adults, self-management of chronic illness is an overwhelming task, especially for those with mild cognitive impairment or complex medication regimens. The purpose of this study was to evaluate cost outcomes of a home-based program that included both nurse care coordination and technology to support self-management of chronic illness, with as an emphasis on medications in frail older adults. A total of 414 older adults, identified as having difficulty self-managing their medications, were recruited at discharge from three Medicare-certified home health care agencies in a large Midwestern urban area. A prospective, randomized, controlled, three-arm, longitudinal design was used. A team consisting of both Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) coordinated care to two groups: home-based nurse care coordination (NCC) plus mediplanner group and NCC plus the MD.2 medication-dispensing machine group. Major findings were:
  • Total Medicare costs were $447 per month lower in the NCC + mediplanner group (p=0.11) when compared to the control group.
  • For participants in the study at least 3 months, total Medicare costs were $491 lower per month in the NCC + mediplanner group (p=0.06) compared to the control group.
  • The cost of the NCC intervention was $151 per month, yielding a net savings of $296 per month or $3552 per year for the NCC + mediplanner group.
  • Participants who received the nurse care coordination intervention scored significantly better than the control group in depression (p < 0.001), functional status (p < 0.001), cognition (p < 0.001), and quality of life (p < 0.001) than participants in the control group.
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