Spotlight on GAPNA’s Newest Special Interest Group
by Heather Hodnett
For many GAPNA members, there exists a desire to be involved in some facet of GAPNA happenings, but the idea of board or committee involvement may seem too large a task to add to our daily patient care (and many other) obligations.
Luckily, the GAPNA membership has created Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for members working in similar areas of geriatric health to connect and advance our knowledge and practice capacities. The Transitional Care SIG is a prime example.
The Transitional Care SIG is one of the newest – and rightfully so! Transitional care is an emerging area of medicine created out of the recognition patients are especially vulnerable to care plan misalignment in the periods of time immediately following hospitalizations. As with many areas of medicine, this is particularly applicable – and often heightened – in the geriatric population.
Advanced practice RNs working with geriatric patients have seen and been troubled by this trend for many years, and the Transitional Care SIG now gives us a chance to connect and collaborate around issues pertinent to this special area now recognized as transitional care.
In fact, many APRNs working in geriatric care have been applying their skills and knowledge (and considerable time and effort!) to helping patients through this fragile time for many years. The difference today is Medicare’s creation of multiple transitional care goals and programs, which has led healthcare organizations across the country to create grassroots programs funded by Medicare partnerships with the goals of reducing cost of care in the transitional time, decreasing readmissions to inpatient facilities, and improving quality of care.
Hospitalist companies, managed care organizations, skilled nursing facilities, academic hospital systems, and large multi-state healthcare networks are just some examples of the types of organizations that have taken on this Medicare partnership challenge. The Transitional Care SIG members are representative of this diverse spectrum of healthcare settings.
Transitional Care SIG members work in various geriatric-focused environments, including academia and clinical practice. We also hail from states across the country, including Tennessee, Arizona, California, and Texas, to name a few. Because of this diverse spread of members, we conduct our monthly meetings via conference call.
Some members elect to work on SIG projects in between our meetings, but time commitment is generally small and easy to incorporate into our daily schedules.
Transitional care is truly pertinent to all aspects of geriatric care, and most adult and geriatric APRNs are already functioning in a transitional care role to some degree, whether or not they recognize it. As such, our SIG is pertinent to all GAPNA members, and we invite all interested GAPNA members to participate and contribute.
We meet in-person at the GAPNA Annual Conference (September 21-24, 2016, Phoenix, AZ) and conduct the remaining 11 monthly meetings via phone. Our calls usually last about 1 hour, and we often share anecdotally about our successes, challenges, and lessons learned as we navigate this burgeoning, complex, and challenging world we now call transitional care.
For more information about this SIG, please reach out to our Chair, Heather Hodnett, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, access this SIG’s information on the GAPNA Website. For information about the other SIGs within GAPNA, please visit the Special Interest Groups.
Heather Hodnett, ANP-BC, GNP-BC
Transitional Care Nurse Practitioner, Sound Physicians
Hospice Nurse Practitioner, Hospice Family Care