Purpose: To identify and classify care activities of nurse practitioners (NPs) providing primary care for frail homebound elders and to describe NPs’ perceptions of the outcomes of their care activities.
Data sources: Three focus groups were held with 24 NPs with at least 1-year experience in caring for frail homebound elders to elicit NPs’ descriptions of their practice. In addition, individual interviews with 10 NPs and participant observation of 2 NPs visiting elders in their homes validated the data. The total sample size was 36 NPs. Field notes and audiotapes were transcribed for analysis and coded using Brykczynski’s existing domains and competencies of NP practice.
Conclusions: Most of the care activities of NPs providing primary care to frail elders in their home involve management of patient health and illness, case management, and the teaching–coaching function. The NP informants believe that they prevent medication errors, falls, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and even death. They reported that they improve their patients’ quality of life and help to provide a peaceful death when death is imminent.
Implications for research: Further refinement of the proposed model is needed in order to examine the effectiveness of NP care on clinically relevant patient outcomes.