Is there a nurse in the house?
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to shine a light on the nursing profession and the value nurses bring to public health. Nurses in general have an excellent reputation. Indeed, a Gallup poll survey in 2018 showed that nurses ranked as the top trusted professionals for the 17th year in a row and enjoy consistently high ratings for honesty and ethical standards. Nurses offer support to individuals and families in a variety of capacities. One way is providing nurse services after a hospital discharge. While these visits are covered by most insurance plans, they typically don’t last for very long. This means newly discharged patients are now expected to learn nursing skills like giving intramuscular injections or managing feeding tube care. After just a brief period of training, it is no wonder that many families feel overwhelmed and anxious about their abilities even after demonstrations and practice. This is especially true if the patient and their spouse are older in years. One option to bridge this knowledge and support gap is to privately hire nursing support services either by hiring a nurse care manager or a private duty nurse.
A nurse care manager is a health professional who has specialized knowledge not only in nursing skills but also in broader coordination and strategic planning. They are hired as health care consultants and bill at an hourly rate for their services. Nurse care managers are often hired when there are complex recurring health issues like frequent hospitalizations that require specific expertise. Nurse care managers assess a client’s overall needs including the following:
- Physical health
- Cognitive health
- Mental health
- Medication review
- Functional assessment
- Environment and safety review of the home
After the completed evaluation, a nurse care manager will develop a Comprehensive Plan of Care, which will recommend specific steps to optimize health and promote independence and enjoyment, while balancing safety and health needs. This care plan may include:
- Specific recommendations for both short and long-term health care planning, such as physician referrals, home care options, rehabilitation, complex care needs, living options, palliative care and end-of-life care needs
- Coordinating and facilitating Advance Directive planning such as health care proxies, and Living Wills
- Providing guidance on appropriate local resources that can help with specific issues
- Accompanying clients to physician appointments and being a healthcare advocate
- Vetting and educating home care workers and triaging care issues.
Private duty nurses are registered nurses who are hired to work with a client either during a day, night shift or split shifts to provide skilled nursing support and peace of mind. After surgery, private duty nurses can monitor your recovery when you are discharged home and ensure that you are comfortable. They also know when to triage for further medical intervention.
A private duty nurse can also support families when a loved one is transitioned home with high-technology treatments such as ventilator care, oxygen treatments, intravenous therapy, or peg tube feedings. Skilled private duty nursing care brings immediate peace of mind that complex care needs are being attended to. It also gives the client and family time to adjust to the new treatments and get one-on-one support with education to make them more successful with longer-term complex care needs. Private duty nurses can also supplement home hospice services and help families with symptom management and pain control. There are also nursing house call visits, which are short hour nursing visits for those needing targeted nursing visits to support a specific short term care need. Examples include fertility injections, wound care or catheter care.
Hiring professionals to manage the care of your loved one can make all the difference. Both a nurse care manager and a private duty nurse have the education and training which can be a powerful addition to ensuring the health and quality care of your loved ones. Is there a nurse in your home?
Written by: Anne Sansevero, RN, MA, GNP, CCM