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advanced practice nurse, aged, cardiac rehabilitation, peer counseling



  1. Carroll, Diane L. PhD, APRN, BC
  2. Rankin, Sally H. PhD, RN, FAAN
  3. Cooper, Bruce A. PhD


Background: After the cardiovascular events of myocardial infarction (MI) and coronary artery bypass surgery (CABS), unpartnered older adults are a vulnerable group that may benefit from interventions to improve health outcomes. The purpose of this analysis is to determine if a community-based collaborative peer advisor/advanced practice nurse intervention increased participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs and reduced hospital readmissions after MI and CABS and determine whether the type of cardiovascular event influenced rehospitalization.


Subjects and Methods: This study was a randomized clinical trial that enrolled 247 unpartnered older adults who were single, widowed, or divorced. Subjects were randomized into 4 groups: standard of care group for MI and for CABS and standard of care plus the treatment groups for MI and for CABS, for 12 weeks after discharge. There were 163 women/84 men, with a mean age of 76.4 years, who were admitted for MI (n = 93) or CABS (n = 154) and who were enrolled from 5 academic medical centers. The treatment consisted of a community-based intervention of a home visit within 72 hours and telephone calls at 2, 6, and 10 weeks from an advanced practice nurse and 12 weekly telephone calls from a peer advisor. Participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program and rehospitalizations were collected at 6 weeks and 3, 6, and 12 months by telephone interview.


Results and Conclusions: There were significantly more participants in cardiac rehabilitation programs after 3 months in the treatment group, and this increase was seen up to 1 year after MI and CABS. There were no statistical differences, although there were fewer rehospitalizations between 3 and 6 months after MI and CABS in the treatment group compared with the standard of care group. Overall, the evidence from this study suggests that a community-based collaborative peer advisor/advanced practice nurse intervention can play a role in promoting active participation in cardiac rehabilitation programs and fewer rehospitalizations in unpartnered older adults after MI and CAGS.