The primary role of a home care nurse is to manage the health of the patients in concert with their physician. When nursing care is ordered for a patient in the home setting it is because the physician believes that their patient needs additional monitoring or assistance to attain an optimal level of health possible for that individual. The goal of all health care providers is for their patients to live full and healthy lives. Home care nurses are specially trained to help patients achieve independence and the highest level of health possible so that our patients are able to live successfully in their homes.
Patients often wonder what they can expect to happen when the nurse comes to their home. We have outlined below typical first and subsequent visits from a Horizon nurse.
You will receive a call from a nurse letting you know that your physician has ordered home care services and that your nurse will be calling to set an appointment with you. That first visit usually occurs within 48 hours of hospital discharge or referral from a clinic. When a nurse visits a patient for the first time he or she will provide the following service:
- Describe the services and secure written permission to provide home care
- Review your medications
- Assess for falls risk
- Perform a safety assessment
- Obtain your vital signs
- Assess your pain
- Discover what your health goals are
The nurse will then establish with you a plan for seeing you to help achieve your goals. It may be to learn your wound care, understand your new medications, or teach injections. Each patient is different and therefore each plan for care does vary. The first visit usually takes over an hour.
Nursing visits that follow the admission visit are focused on achievement of your health goals. Typical nursing visits include:
- Vital signs
- Wound treatment
- Medication teaching
- Disease monitoring
- Pain management
- Disease teaching
Subsequent visits can range from 15 minutes to an hour. Some patients are seen daily and others as infrequent as once a month. It is quite common for visits to be more frequent in the beginning and less frequent closer to discharge.
Home care nursing is about teaching with the goal for patients to live independently and in better health.
Hear Mary Haynor, Horizon’s President & CEO, talk about Home Care Services