As a caregiver, you know that your loved one’s health situation can change quickly, and they may suddenly need more care than you alone can give. Maybe they are coming home from the hospital, and a doctor has recommended home care. Or you might want to bring a nurse into your home during a serious illness.
At VNS Health, we know that your loved one may be nervous about home care. We know that you may feel overwhelmed as a caregiver. We know you want the best possible care for your loved one. We’re here to provide that care when you need it the most.
You may have a lot of questions about home care services. How will a VNS Health nurse fit into my life? What does VNS Health actually do? Bringing someone new into your home is a big deal, and these are good questions to ask.
How Will a VNS Health Nurse Fit into My Life?
New York is filled with many different kinds of people, and no one’s situation is exactly the same. That’s why our nurses are just as diverse as the New Yorkers we serve.
Our home care nurses live in all different neighborhoods in the city and speak many languages. Where possible, we try to match your family with a nurse who can explain your care in the language you or your loved one feel most comfortable speaking.
Our team of nurses is here to put your mind at ease, to make caring for yourself or your loved one easier. Home care nurses don’t just provide care — they make sure that everyone feels comfortable tending to your loved one’s needs as well.
What Does a VNS Health Nurse Do?
VNS Health nurses can provide many types of support to you or your loved one.
We prepare our home care nurses to handle any situation. Each home care nurse is licensed and registered to work in the state of New York and receives extensive training to best respond to your care needs.
Your nurse is here to:
- Manage your loved one’s care plan. This includes making sure that the doctor’s instructions get carried out and planning visits from other VNS Health frontline team members.
- Review your loved one’s medical care needs and assess their recovery
- Keep doctors informed about your loved one’s condition
- Make sure family caregivers feel comfortable providing care and know what changes to look for
- Teach your loved one ways to manage their disease, symptoms, and pain
- Help you get and use medical tools (like an oxygen tank or a blood pressure cuff)
- Support and assist your loved one in creating healthy habits, like quitting smoking or changing their eating plan
How should I prepare for my first home care visit with a VNS Health nurse?
But what if I need a nurse to:
As part of your loved one’s recovery, you may find yourself managing a long list of medications.
Your VNS Health nurse can help:
- Review medications to make sure your loved one knows how and when to take them
- Assess whether medications are working — while keeping an eye out for side effects
- Work with doctors and your pharmacy to prevent dangerous drug combinations
- Make sure prescriptions are filled correctly
- Give infusions and injections
A VNS Health nurse can help administer medications if you or your loved one:
- Has chronic pain
- Is receiving chemotherapy
- Has HIV or is receiving intravenous medications
- Is a senior with a complex medication schedule
- Has a memory or cognitive impairment
Care for a wound
Beyond routine care, you or your loved one may have specific needs that require attention. You don’t have to go looking elsewhere for care though. For example, a VNS Health nurse can provide wound care to support a smooth recovery.
Your home care nurse can:
- Monitor and care for wounds, incision site, or sores
- Make sure any slow-healing or long-term wounds don’t lead to other medical concerns such as bedsores (pressure ulcers)
- Show you and your loved one how to look for any changes in their wound
- Train you and your loved one to care for their wound as it heals
Wound care with a VNS Health nurse might be right if you or your loved one:
- Has or will be having surgery
- Has chronic diabetes or another circulatory disease
- Is bedbound or can’t change positions easily
Your nurse is well trained to handle most aspects of home care. But sometimes you or your loved one may have a medical condition that requires more attention or more expert training.
If there is a wound that isn’t healing normally, for example, your home care nurse may bring in one of VNS Health’s certified nurse specialists. Nurse specialists have extra training and knowledge to support your home care nurse.
Monitor vital signs
There are many reasons your doctor may ask you to record your or your loved one’s vital signs at home. Your doctor may be interested in looking at your weight, pulse, blood pressure, or blood glucose levels to get a better idea of your condition or recovery.
Your nurse can not only monitor vital signs but also make sure you feel comfortable doing so as well. For example, the nurse can both take your blood pressure and instruct you on how to use a blood pressure cuff yourself.
A VNS Health nurse can:
- Check vital signs, such as weight, pulse, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels
- Review overall condition
- Teach you and your loved one about their disease or condition and how to spot changes that you should tell your doctor about
- Teach you and your loved one how to use special tools like a blood pressure cuff
Having someone who can help you keep track of vital signs can be important if you or your loved one:
- Is a senior
- Is at risk of going back to the hospital (rehospitalization)
- Has a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease
- Has an advanced illness that has led to a decline in health, functioning, and treatment impact
Manage chronic conditions
Some diseases and conditions require different kinds of care and attention. If you or your loved one has a chronic condition, our home care nurses can offer the expert specialized care you need.
A VNS Health nurse can help manage chronic conditions such as:
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- CHF (congestive heart failure)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Provide care beyond what insurance will cover
Sometimes you may want nursing care beyond what is covered by your insurance. Private nursing care is available from VNS Health and can be arranged to suit your schedule and location.
Private nursing care may include:
- Medication management, including premeasuring dosages to take according to a schedule
- Supervision of and assistance with infusion therapy and tube feeding
- Specialized care for wounds, drainage, tracheotomy or catheter, colostomy, or ileostomy
- Injection administration, such as blood thinners after surgery and fertility injections
- Assistance transitioning home from the hospital, such as with a newborn
- Guidance for self-care and nutritional education
- Assessment for home safety and nursing home eligibility (PRI assessments)
- Round-the-clock nursing care, including for hospice patients