Study finds more nurse practitioners making house calls to elderly

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- A researcher says nurse practitioners are providing more in-home visits for the frail and elderly.

However, the study also find regulations are hindering the growth of the profession in several states all while demand for the specialty climbs.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine's Department of Public Health Services researcher Nengliang "Aaron" Yao, PhD conducted the study.

According to a release, nurse practitioners made more than 1.13 million home visits in 2013, surpassing visits made by internal medicine doctors.

This was a reversal of numbers from 2012, during which internal medicine doctors made 1.08 million visits and nurse practitioners made fewer than 925,000.

"This has implications for both house-call providers and nursing education," said Yao. "If we want to take care of our geriatric population, we really need more providers to do so."

According to the student, the number of new doctors what get licenses each year is capped by the number of medical residencies available.

While there is no such limit on nurse practitioners, regulations in many states are causing other limitations, and Yao says state governments should revisit those rules in order to handle unmet medical needs.

He also suggests that nursing schools offer training program in home-based primary and palliative care.

The study included UVA, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Tennessee reviewing Medicare data on house calls made in 2012 and 2013, who made the calls and where.

According to the study, nurse practitioners provided care over the largest geographic area with the bulk of them who made more than 1,000 house calls in 2013 being in the eastern half of the United States.

The study also says nursing home residents were more likely to get house calls than were residents who are homebound in their own residences.

The findings were published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

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