When to Use a Skilled Nurse

October 02, 2018

When choosing the right person to care for you or your loved one there are many options to choose from. When coming to a decision that is right for you one of the most important questions you should ask your physician is "Do I, or my loved one, need a skilled nurse?"

A nurse that comes to your home is different from a home health aide, contrary to a friend visiting you, and unlike a phone call from a family member to “check in”. When choosing the correct caregiver there are many factors to consider.

A nurse is necessary if you have:

  • a complicated or non-healing wound
  • medications that need to be organized
  • an unstable or new diagnosis of a disease that needs constant management (e.g. diabetes, heart failure, blood pressure problems, etc.)
  • a feeding tube
  • a urinary catheter
  • a new colostomy

Experience Counts:

These cases cannot be managed without extensive training. Even a friend or family member that receives training can’t take the place of a nurse who has years of education and work experience. A home visit from a nurse can help you avoid hospitalizations by identifying early symptoms or issues before they become an emergency. A nurse can help you look around your home for potential safety risks so they can be fixed before they are ever a problem.

Frequency of Visits: 

Nursing visits can be monthly, weekly, daily or at any frequency that meets your needs. A nurse offers you care in the comfort of your own home, possibly eliminating the need for frequent follow up with your physician. A nurse can and will contact your physician with any concerns, changes, or issues with your care. The nurse and the physician can then collaborate to provide you with the best care in your home.

A home visit from a nurse can also be a general “check up” to determine if you need to follow up with your physician or if there are any concerns that the nurse can help you with without the need for you to leave your home.

In Conclusion:

A nurse that provides care in your home is an invaluable resource that should be used to help manage health needs at home and reduce the need for doctor and hospital visits.

Posted by Laura Silverstein, MSN, RN, WCC in Health & Lifestyle

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