2 min read

How Continuity of Care Nursing Impacts Health Care

Consistency can make or break a patient’s experience in healthcare. As part of receiving high-quality care, patients are typically seen by multiple providers. This allows them to get multiple opinions, multiple viewpoints and be seen by specialists if the situation dictates.

Continuity of care is important from all of these providers, but it’s especially important for nurses to prioritize. Nurses work so closely with patients and know so much about their case throughout their journey that receiving consistent, informed nursing care is critical to a good patient experience.

What does continuity of care look like for nurses?

Nurses are responsible for knowing their patients and what they need, as well as accurately communicating that information to physicians, specialists and other nurses. For nurses, continuity of care means strong communication.

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This can include simple, everyday tasks like keeping accurate notes in a patient’s chart and going over all aspects of the patient’s situation with the next nurse at shift change. It can also look like participating in discharge or transfer discussions or even following up with a patient a few days later to see if they need anything.

If a patient is being transferred, the continuity of care will rest largely on the interoperability of the facility the patient is leaving and the one they’re about to enter. 

What is interoperability in healthcare, and how do facilities achieve it?

Interoperability is how easily two healthcare facilities can communicate with each other. In other words, how well they can maintain continuity of care as a patient moves from one facility to the next.

Much of this depends on healthcare providers like nurses to accurately give and receive reports so that no details are missed. However, electronic health records are one key to truly achieving interoperability.

EHRs and health information exchange services allow providers who have access to see all of a patient’s history, records and charts. This information is valuable when it comes to providing excellent care.

Can continuity of care improve patient outcomes?

The short answer is, yes, it can. Continuity of care can often increase patient satisfaction, because patients recognize that their entire care team is working together.

With good continuity of care, they also won’t have to repeat themselves over and over again to the next provider they see. Beyond this, continuity of care can make patients more likely to follow through on medical advice because it builds the trust they have in their care team.

Continuity of care means a lot to patients, especially from nurses. Hospital nurses often do this through giving thorough reports to explain a patient’s needs. A nurse in a pediatrician’s office can be seen as a friendly face a young child can see each time they have to visit.

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