Long-term home care is a gift not only to nurses but also to customers

I have worked as a nurse for 50 years in a variety of settings. Most of my time was in critical care and patient education, but I’ve also worked in occupational health and clinics.

I didn’t even know the existence of long-term home care until I retired. I went to agency Seniors Plus to learn about Medicare. I also learned about all the other great initiatives they are doing, such as keeping people safe at home when nursing homes are an alternative. One way to do this is to have a nurse visit. A nurse like me.

Six years later, I still love my part-time job and it became even more important then. Nursing home beds are now very difficult to find and more and more people are teetering on the brink.

When I visit my clients for the first time, I tell them that it is my job to know them well enough to think about how I can help them.

Each situation is different. Medication management can become a top priority. Older people and even young people with chronic illnesses may be taking dozens of pills. Also in the morning. There are nights. some on an empty stomach. Some only if necessary.

If you don’t feel great, have poor eyesight, or have arthritis and crippled fingers, this can be very difficult to deal with. One woman, she said, before I showed up, she used to take one out of every bottle when she wasn’t feeling well.

Teaching may be my favorite part of my job. You can’t just walk into someone’s house and make laws. They have to make a decision to stop drinking soda or use oxygen properly. You can get there by education or by teasing a little. Perseverance, really. And I have time for that.

In the back of my mind, I constantly monitor the progression of chronic diseases. For example, people with early signs of dementia may be safe at home. But we don’t want the disaster to be a sign that things have gone too far.

Most people just really need company. A man started talking about politics and when I told him we might as well stop talking about it, he looked very depressed. “He has no one else to talk to,” he said. So we set the ground rules and have had lively discussions ever since.

Lest you think I’m just a friendly visitor with medical knowledge, let me tell you that medical knowledge goes a long way. I first noticed heart rhythm changes, pneumonia, and infections. I had injections, blood drawn, and nail clippings. I cut my pet’s nails and found inexpensive medical care for my pet.

In conclusion, the most important thing to remember is “I have time”. Sometimes we visit weekly, sometimes monthly, but she stays for an hour and will be right back. Some of my first clients I still see today. I have been visiting them for 6 years.

So it’s not a secret. Those of us involved in long-term home health care are doing valuable work out in the community. If you know someone who needs this kind of help, it starts with a doctor’s order. And if you’re interested in this job, do as I do and ask SeniorsPlus about agencies hiring nurses in your area.

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