A systematic review of the effectiveness of advanced practice nurses in long-term care.
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AIM: To report quantitative evidence of the effectiveness of advanced practice nursing roles, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners, in meeting the healthcare needs of older adults living in long-term care residential settings. BACKGROUND: Although studies have examined the effectiveness of advanced practice nurses in this setting, a systematic review of this evidence has not been conducted. DESIGN: Quantitative systematic review. DATA SOURCES: Twelve electronic databases were searched (1966-2010); leaders in the field were contacted; and personal files, reference lists, pertinent journals, and websites were searched for prospective studies with a comparison group. REVIEW METHODS: Studies that met inclusion criteria were reviewed for quality, using a modified version of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Review Group risk of bias assessment criteria. RESULTS: Four prospective studies conducted in the USA and reported in 15 papers were included. Long-term care settings with advanced practice nurses had lower rates of depression, urinary incontinence, pressure ulcers, restraint use, and aggressive behaviours; more residents who experienced improvements in meeting personal goals; and family members who expressed more satisfaction with medical services. CONCLUSION: Advanced practice nurses are associated with improvements in several measures of health status and behaviours of older adults in long-term care settings and in family satisfaction. Further exploration is needed to determine the effect of advanced practice nurses on health services use; resident satisfaction with care and quality of life; and the skills, quality of care, and job satisfaction of healthcare staff.
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