A Transition Nurse Makes Patient Discharge Easier
Janet Perreault, Summit Home Health Care, Colorado Springs LIVING WELL Magazine
Although hospitalization is difficult, the discharge to home can prove at least as much, if not more, of a challenge. Patients go from having a nurse just a call-light away, to having to manage their own needs with much less assistance.
For the older person who may be struggling with complex medical issues, new medications, and many questions, the Transition Nurse makes a real difference. At Summit Home Health Care, Jennifer Munger, R.N. is the Transition Nurse making that difference.
“One of the things I like most about being in that role is the time I get to spend with our patients before they ever leave the hospital,” says Munger. “I can answer their questions about what to expect when they go home, address any setbacks they might experience, reassure them about their pain management or explain new medications to them. This helps the family as well, as they assume the role of caregiver during this time. Best of all, the patient gets a chance to be heard and that is so important in the healing process.”
Munger can also act as a liaison between patient, family, and hospital staff prior to going home, serving as an extra set of eyes and ears for the patient and facilitating communication among the involved parties.
Patients often are not prepared for the barrage of activities that await them at home. Within hours of their arrival, they can be visited by the oxygen or medical equipment company, home health care staff, and even well-meaning friends and family; new prescriptions may need to be picked up, follow-up doctor appointments need to be made. It can be overwhelming to the person who has not yet regained their strength. The Transition Nurse can prepare them to handle these challenges and can even make their follow-up appointments for them if the patient desires.
The extra attention to transitioning from hospital to home has shown improvement in many areas, including patient satisfaction, health outcomes, fewer hospital readmissions and a reduction in health care costs; a win-win situation for all.
Janet Perreault is a consultant with Summit Home Health Care, an agency that provides medical and non-medical home health care services. For more information on the agency and the Transition Nurse, or for a no-obligation consultation in your home or hospital, call 719-533-0084.