Skilled Nursing from UCLAHHC
To work in home health care, a person needs to embody many fine qualities: dedication, compassion, intelligence, and gentleness. Everyone who works at Unique Case Los Angeles Home Health Care exhibits these qualities daily, and we pride ourselves on the work we do and the high-quality care we provide for our clients. But one role, in particular, is renowned for providing dedicated care, and that is, of course, our skilled nursing providers.
They are the backbone of the home health care team, performing critical duties from beginning to end, from consulting with doctors to writing the patient’s health care plan upon admission to providing a discharge plan for when the patient no longer needs our services.
Through patients’ journeys, our nurses are there, organizing the team, providing direct care, and in general working ceaselessly to provide the best possible care.
Setting a Plan
There can be no single plan in health care. Every single patient is different: everyone reacts to aging differently, everyone copes differently with injuries and maladies, and everyone has a different response to medication and other treatments. So, every single health care plan must be customized for each patient. This requires a great deal of attentiveness and gentle care, and UCLAHHC’s nurses are ready to provide both in spades.
Upon a patient’s admission to home health care, one of the managing nurse’s first duties is to write the home health care plan. To do so, she will work with the patient’s doctor to learn about the patient’s condition, medical needs, and capabilities. She will absorb and synthesize this knowledge to make a detailed plan for the patient. The plan briefly lists all the relevant aspects of the patient’s health and treatment:
Vital statistics such as weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and so on
Medical equipment and medications that are needed
Services the patient needs and who should provide them
Frequency of those services
The goal for treatment
Recovery, maintaining capabilities, slowing of decline, and so forth
The plan is not set in stone. As the patient recovers, he will need less assistance, so treatments and health care worker visits will be scaled back (while the nurse keeps a close eye on his condition).
Alternately, if the patient’s health deteriorates or if he experiences a crisis, our nurse will consult with the doctor to update the plan.
Illness and injury are not static, and our nurses regularly meet with the other members of the health care team to update the plan and make sure everyone is on the same page. Nurses thus serve as facilitators between doctors and the rest of the caregivers.
Health aides, therapists, and family caregivers will report their concerns and observations to the nurse. She takes this information to the patient’s doctor. They discuss the patient together and revise the health care plan; the doctor might prescribe new treatments or adjust medication levels. The nurse then takes the updated plan and informs the rest of the health care team so that everyone knows their duties and care is provided in a continual, unified way.
UCLAHHC nurses don’t just fill out paperwork and hold meetings. They also perform plenty of direct care for patients. They are frequent visitors to patients’ homes, where they monitor vital signs, care for wounds, give IM injections, administer IVs.… In short, they do just about anything needed to look after the patient’s health.
Once they establish a patient’s status, nurses can delegate some simple tasks to others, such as home health aides, family caregivers, and even the patient herself. They will teach patients who are capable how to take their own blood pressure, which is a valuable method of biofeedback that can allow the patient greater control over her health. Home health aides and family members can be taught how to safely give medicine and how to perform simple wound care. But more specialized tasks, such as administering IV therapy, require special training and can be done only by a nurse.
Since our nurses frequently visit homes, they often bond with patients and family members. Their cheerful and professional presence alone is often enough to ease stress and worry, and the trust and friendship given to our nurses is a balm on long work days.
Nurse as Educator
In home health care, much of the work is done by family caregivers (and often by the patient herself if she is not too debilitated). But family caregivers have their own needs, and being unexpectedly thrust into a caregiving role can be intimidating and exhausting. Our nurse serves as the primary point of contact for family members, and she will often act as a teacher for stressed family members, informing them how they can help their unwell loved one:
- What medication the patient needs, and when she must take it.
- How to take the patient’s vital signs and how to respond to something unexpected.
- What physical and occupational therapies are assigned to the patient, and how to help her perform them.
- How to help the patient if she undergoes a crisis such as an injury or an unexpected malady.
- What day-to-day troubles the patient might experience, and how they can assist her.
Family caregivers do the bulk of the work in caring for an ill family member, so they have every right to consider themselves as part of our health care team. By playing the role of teacher, UCLAHHC nurses ensure that our patients receive excellent care, even when one of our staff members is not present.
Nurse On Call
Family members always have access to one of our nurses over the phone. In times of crisis, a patient cannot wait until the next scheduled visit from a team member. For those times, UCLAHHC keeps a skilled nursing practitioner by the phone at all times, ready to take your call. An injury, an unexpected reaction to a medication, a sudden fever, or a precipitate change in her mental state all warrant an immediate consultation. If any of these happen, call us, and our nurse by the phone will advise you right away. If we cannot solve the problem over the phone, we will schedule a visit to your home as soon as possible.