Home health care (HHC) is a leading form of home and community-based services for persons with dementia (PWD). Nurses are the primary providers of HHC; however, little is known of nursing care delivery and quality.
The objective of this study was to examine the association between continuity of nursing care in HHC and rehospitalization among PWD.
This is a retrospective cohort study using multiple years (2010−2015) of HHC assessment, administrative, and human resources data from a large urban not-for-profit home health agency.
This study included 23,886 PWD receiving HHC following a hospitalization.
Continuity of nursing care was calculated using the Bice and Boxerman method, which considered the number of total visits, nurses, and visits from each nurse during an HHC episode. The outcome was all-cause rehospitalization during HHC. Risk-adjusted logistic regression was used for analysis.
Approximately 24% of PWD were rehospitalized. The mean continuity of nursing care score was 0.56 (SD=0.33). Eight percent of PWD received each nursing visit from a different nurse (no continuity), and 26% received all visits from one nurse during an HHC episode (full continuity). Compared with those receiving high continuity of nursing care (third tertile), PWD receiving low (first tertile) or moderate (second tertile) continuity of nursing care had an adjusted odds ratio of 1.33 (95% confidence interval: 1.25−1.46) and 1.30 (95% confidence interval: 1.22−1.43), respectively, for being rehospitalized.
Wide variations exist in continuity of nursing care to PWD. Consistency in nurse staff when providing HHC visits to PWD is critical for preventing rehospitalizations.