Care Management For Older Adults: The Roles Of Nurses, Social Workers, And Physicians

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Care management programs have become more widely adopted as health systems try to improve the coordination and integration of services across the continuum of care, especially for frail older adults. Several models of care suggest the inclusion of registered nurses (RNs) and social workers to assist in these activities. In a 2018 national survey of 410 clinicians in 363 primary care and geriatrics practices caring for frail older adults, we found that nearly 40 percent of practices had no social workers or RNs. However, when both types of providers did work in a practice, social workers were more likely than RNs to be reported to participate in social needs assessment and RNs more likely than social workers to participate in care coordination. Physicians’ involvement in social needs assessment and care coordination declined significantly when social workers, RNs, or both were employed in the practice.


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Health Affairs

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Donelan, Karen, Yuchiao Chang, Julie Berrett-Abebe, Joanne Spetz, David I. Auerbach, Linda Norman, and Peter I. Buerhaus. "Care management for older adults: The roles of nurses, social workers, and physicians." Health Affairs 38, no. 6 (2019): 941-949.



Peer Reviewed