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Abstract

Coordinating patient care is an activity central to home health nursing practice. Nurses believe that this component of care contributes in a meaningful way to patient well-being. Yet changes in the home care environment at the patient, agency, and system levels could jeopardize nurses' care coordination activities. This study describes the nature of the care coordination activities delivered by home health nurses and explicates the amount of time expended in these activities. A convenience sample of 143 nurses, employed in 24 home health agencies in a southeastern state, participated. They recorded their time, in 15-minute intervals, for 10 consecutive working days. On average, they spent 29% of their time in direct care (i.e., home visits), 18% in travel, 18% in record-keeping activities, and 16% in care coordinating activities. New mechanisms to reimburse home care are on the horizon. Studies such as this that begin to explicate the nature of care requirements are critical if appropriate decisions are to be made about the structure of a reimbursement system for home health care.