A Controlled Trial of the Impact of the Family Practice Nurse on Volume, Quality, and Cost of Rural Health Services
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Rural Newfoundland communities with and without expanded role nurses were compared on a before and after basis. The rural communities are located in a geographically isolated area served by a 40-bed hospital staffed by salaried physicians. Primary care visits within the community increased by 186 per cent after establishment of the family practice nurse community clinic and attendance at the hospital decreased by 35 per cent. Acute care days in hospital decreased 5 per cent in the experimental group and increased by 39 per cent in the control group. A major portion of the community based visits provided to the experimental group were classed as preventive. The total annual health service cost per 1,000 persons in the experimental group increased slightly more than in the control group (26 versus 21 per cent). Adequate management of certain indicator conditions and drugs was maintained by the family practice nurse when compared to the adequacy rating for the physician during the same time period.
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