Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Mary Val Palumbo

Second Advisor

Peter Callas


Purpose: Transitional care is an emerging model of health care designed to decrease preventable adverse events and associated utilization of healthcare through temporary follow-up after hospital discharge. This study describes the approach and outcomes of two transitional care programs: one is provided by masters-prepared clinical nurse specialists (CNS) with a chronic disease self-management focus, another by physicians specializing in palliative care (PPC). Existing research has shown that transitional care programs with intensive follow up reduce hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and costs. Few studies, however, have included side-by-side comparisons of the efficacy of transitional care programs varying by health care providers or program focus.

Design: This is a retrospective cohort study comparing the number of Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospitalizations in the 120 days before and after the intervention for patients enrolled in each transitional care program. Each program included post-hospitalization home visits, but included difference in program focus (chronic disease vs. palliative), assessment and interventions, and population (rural vs. urban). Data from participants in the CNS program 9/2014 ' 12/2014 were analyzed (n=98). The average age of participants was 69 and they were 65% female.

Data was collected from patients from the PC program from 9/2014 to 4/2015 (n=71). Thirty participants died within 120 days after the intervention and were excluded, the remaining 41 were included in the analysis. Participants had an average age of 81 and were 63% female.

Methods: For the CNS program, a secondary analysis of existing data was performed. For the PC program, a review of patient charts was done to collect encounters data. A Wilcoxon Matched-Pair Signed-Rank test was performed to test for significance.

Findings: Patients in the CNS intervention had significantly fewer ED visits (p

Conclusions: Both transitional programs have value in decreasing health care utilization. The CNS intervention had a more significant effect on ED visits for their target population than the PC program. Further study with randomized control trails is needed to allow for a better understanding of the healthcare workforce best fitted to enhance transitional care outcomes. Future study to examine the cost savings of each of the interventions is also needed.



Number of Pages

64 p.