April 18, 2024


Through Education Matters

AGACNPs’ role in assessment, diagnosis, and management of chronic conditions

As people age, their bodies tend to experience wear and tear, and as a result, their health tends to decline. 

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University titled Chronic Conditions: Making a Case for Ongoing Care found that the vast majority of people aged 65 years and above – around 87%, in fact – suffer from at least one chronic condition, and a staggering 67% of this population have to deal with two or more chronic illnesses simultaneously. This highlights the need for increased awareness and better healthcare management of chronic diseases in the elderly population. 

Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners (AGACNP) provide acute care to adult patients with critical conditions, particularly elderly patients who require specialized care. 

Why AGACNP professionals are becoming increasingly essential

Chronic diseases can severely impact older adults’ quality of life and daily functioning. As the healthcare industry grapples with a persistent physician shortage, specialized nurse practitioners are becoming increasingly vital in filling the healthcare gap for older adults. With the aging of the baby-boomer generation and their increasing healthcare needs, the availability of AGACNP professionals with experience and expertise in treating older adults with chronic conditions is particularly important.

So, what exactly does an AGACNP do? Acute care providers work with patients experiencing complex critical, episodic, or deteriorating conditions in emergency rooms, urgent care, and tele-intensive care units. In addition to assessing a patient’s immediate health situation, they order and interpret diagnostic tests, develop treatment plans, prescribe medication or medical devices, operate life-support systems, provide medical interventions, manage pain, advocate for patients, and communicate with patients and their families.

As we explore the general definition of an AGACNP professional, it’s important to note that their scope of practice goes beyond just the physical needs of their patients. They also address the mental health concerns of patients and their families, especially during difficult times like end-of-life care. 

These highly skilled healthcare professionals are critical in delivering specialized care to vulnerable populations and meeting the increasing demand for healthcare services.

Five ways acute care providers help older patients manage chronic health problems 

AGACNPs have a critical role in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating chronic health problems in their patients. These five methods are just a few ways in which AGACNPs can help manage these conditions:

Conducting comprehensive assessments

To offer high-quality healthcare to patients with chronic health problems and ensure they receive the necessary care and support, healthcare providers must conduct comprehensive health assessments using various methods, such as patient interviews, medical history reviews, physical examinations, diagnostic testing, and medication reviews.

But despite the significance of comprehensive health assessments, healthcare professionals need help with conducting them. For instance, patients with chronic health problems may have complex medical histories, which could require healthcare providers to identify underlying health issues contributing to the patient’s chronic health problem.

Overall, AGACNP professionals must be qualified to conduct comprehensive health assessments regularly to meet the needs of patients with chronic health problems. These assessments can lead to an accurate and reliable diagnosis, personalized treatment plans, improved patient satisfaction, and reduced hospital readmission rates. 

Moreover, AGACNPs can help identify high-risk individuals, improve self-management techniques, and enhance the overall quality of life for older patients with chronic health problems.

Developing personalized care plans

As our society ages, AGACNPs play a pivotal role in providing personalized care plans to these patients. Personalized care plans focus on individual patient needs, circumstances, and preferences, resulting in better health outcomes. 

The process of developing personalized care plans begins with a comprehensive health assessment. AGACNPs gather information about the patient’s current health status, including medical history, social history, nutritional status, physical exam data, and diagnostic tests. This process helps AGACNPs determine the patient’s specific needs, goals, and barriers to treatment, including financial, emotional, and cognitive factors.

Comprehensive health assessments, customized treatment plans, and multidisciplinary collaboration are some of the approaches AGACNPs use to deliver evidence-based, patient-centered care that improves patient outcomes. Education and counselling for patients and their families are integral to the process, allowing patients to play an active role in their care and achieve better health outcomes.

Monitoring patient health

AGACNPs monitor a patient’s health by conducting a comprehensive health assessment to identify their current health status, including their medical history, medication regimen, physical exam data, diagnostic results, and other relevant information. Using this information, AGACNPs create evidence-based treatment plans that address the patient’s unique health needs and goals.

AGACNPs monitor the health of their patients through ongoing assessments to identify any changes or complications that may arise in their health status. In addition to regular physical assessments, AGACNPs monitor their patient’s vital signs, laboratory results, and medication management. They also encourage patients to monitor their own health by educating them about their conditions and advising them to report any symptoms or side effects of treatment.

The use of data science in healthcare plays an increasingly-significant role in remotely monitoring patients’ health. AGACNPs may use telehealth technology to conduct virtual visits with their patients, monitor chronic health conditions through remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems, and utilize other electronic health resources or communication tools to facilitate care and monitor patient progress.

Their ongoing assessments, collaboration with other healthcare professionals, patient education, and the use of technology allow for effective and efficient patient health monitoring. By utilizing these skills and resources, AGACNPs can ensure that their patients receive high-quality, personalized care, ultimately improving their quality of life and overall health outcomes.

Providing patient education and counselling

As part of their role, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners (AGACNPs) provide crucial patient education and counselling that empowers patients to understand their health conditions, manage symptoms, and make informed decisions about their care. Using their clinical expertise, AGACNPs develop personalized education plans that reflect their patients’ health needs, preferences, and goals.

AGACNPs promote active patient participation in managing their health by educating patients about their conditions, medications, and self-care strategies and by counselling them on lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, and stress management. They acknowledge their role as an integral part of the patient’s healthcare team and strive to empower patients to be confident, informed participants in their care.

AGACNPs encourage patients to ask questions and ensure they understand their health conditions, treatment plans, and potential risks and benefits associated with any interventions. This approach enables patients to make informed decisions and actively participate in managing their health, ultimately leading to better outcomes.

Overall, patient education and counselling are crucial aspects of the role of AGACNPs, and their expertise in this area greatly contributes to improving patient outcomes by providing patients with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to manage their health successfully.

Coordinating with other healthcare providers

 AGACNPs recognize the importance of collaborating with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient care. AGACNPs work closely with geriatricians, pharmacists, rehabilitation specialists, social workers, physical therapists, and other healthcare providers to develop personalized care plans that integrate multiple healthcare disciplines in order to achieve successful treatment outcomes.

Collaboration with other healthcare providers is essential to ensure that all patient treatment aspects are coordinated and optimized for their overall health and well-being. AGACNPs recognize the value of a holistic approach to patient care. They may collaborate with healthcare providers in different specialties and disciplines to provide the best possible care to their patients.

In conclusion, AGACNPs collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient education, counselling, and care. By integrating multiple healthcare disciplines, healthcare providers can ensure that treatment plans are fully optimized and tailored to patient’s specific needs, resulting in improved health outcomes and quality of life.

Is helping elderly patients with chronic conditions for you?

The role of adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners (AGACNPs) is varied, and their expertise is often needed in emergency, intensive care, trauma, and hospice settings. They are responsible for providing advanced nursing care to patients with acute, critical, and chronic conditions. However, AGACNPs may work in outpatient and rehabilitative care units or hospice andpalliative care services. Working hours may vary depending on the care setting, but due to the nature of emergency care, those in emergency and trauma units may have to be on call.

In addition to specialized healthcare knowledge, several core skills are essential for success in the AGACNP profession. AGACNPs must be able to make logical decisions quickly, withstand pressure, and accurately assess critical situations. They must collaborate with other healthcare providers, advocate for patient rights, and value a patient-centered care model. Effective communication is also crucial, especially when dealing with diverse individuals and groups.

If you’re considering a career as an AGACNP, you should know the specific soft skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed. You can begin by researching accredited post-masters AGACNP programs, such as the course offered by Rockhurst university, and contacting professionals in the field. AGACNPs must also be compassionate, clear-headed, and confident. They are important in caring for patients with high needs, often during serious illness or at the end of life. They must balance the needs and wishes of patients with those of their family members, particularly in terminal situations.

Pursuing a career as an AGACNP can be a rewarding choice, as you’ll be able to impact the lives of patients and their families significantly. 

If you’re passionate about providing advanced care to those in need, signing up for an AGACNP course could be the first step in achieving your goals.

Why a post-masters AGACNP course can kick-start your rewarding career

The Online Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Post-master’s Certificate Program (AGACNP Post-Master’s Certificate) offered by Rockhurst University is an ideal choice for advanced practice nurse practitioners looking to enhance their clinical competencies. This program is designed to give students the knowledge they need to care for adult and older adult patients with acute and complex conditions, including cardiology, oncology, and endocrinology.

The AGACNP Post-master’s Certificate program at Rockhurst University allows students to increase their knowledge of advanced pharmacologic management, pathophysiology, and diagnostic testing interpretation of hospitalized and critically ill patients while applying advanced knowledge gained through previous or concurrent coursework.

This program allows students to complete their degreein just four semesters and broaden their career opportunities. In addition, the program is delivered by Saint Luke’s™ College of Nursing and Health Sciences, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The AGACNP Post-master’s Certificate program is focused on scholarship, leadership, discovery, and ethical practices, all guided by Jesuit values. At Rockhurst University, adult-gerontology acute care advanced practice nurses are prepared to care for the whole person’s needs through rigorous academics, varied clinical experiences, and a spirit of inquiry and reflection.

By enrolling in the Online Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Post-master’s Certificate Program (AGACNP Post-Master’s Certificate) at Rockhurst University, you can expand your scope of practice and become certified to care for adults and older adults with acute and complex conditions in a variety of fields.


If you’re considering a career in nursing, becoming an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) may be the perfect path for you. As we’ve discussed, the AGACNP is a critical healthcare team member, responsible for managing acute, chronic, and critical conditions in adult, older adult, and elderly patients.

With so many older adults suffering from chronic illnesses, the AGACNP is uniquely positioned to make a real difference in their lives. By working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, AGACNPs can help stabilize and improve patients’ health and provide them with the care they need to maintain their independence.

So, if you’re interested in a career that allows you to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others, why not consider signing up for an AGACNP course? With the right training and education, you can become a skilled healthcare professional ready to tackle the challenges of managing chronic illnesses in older adults.

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