Nonphysician care of seniors results in good outcomes: study

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At a time when the United States is facing a shortage of geriatricians and others to care for senior living community residents and other older adults, one solution may be having nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide care that traditionally has been provided by doctors, suggests a new review of published studies.

Researchers from the Netherlands, writing in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, said that health outcomes were at least as good when care was provided by these nonphysician healthcare providers instead of doctors.

Two randomized controlled trials that were reviewed showed no effect on approximately half of the outcomes and a positive effect on the other half of these outcomes, the investigators said. Evidence from eight other studies supported most of the results of the randomized trials, they added.

Residents in assisted living communities and other seniors housing settings were included in the studies that were reviewed, lead author Marleen H. Lovink, RN, MSc, a Ph.D. student at Radboud University in the Netherlands, told McKnight's Senior Living.

The researchers also hoped to draw conclusions regarding costs and cost-effectiveness of care provided by NPs, PAs and nurses but were unable to do so from their review.

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