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Understanding the changes to our home care nurse scheduling

Last month we kicked off a three-part blog series focusing on the future of home care nursing and the improvements we’ve made recently, with the first post talking about how our service has begun to evolve and the new caseloads PHS takes on.

As we talked about in the first installment, a shortage of health care workers has led to patients spending longer periods of time in the hospital when they could be discharged due to a lack of nursing available at home. To ensure PHS continues to fulfill the mission this company was founded on, taking care of the child, we evaluated the ongoing role caregivers and nurses play in a patient’s health, and how to empower every member of the child’s care team.

By determining the needs and schedule of care provided by a home care nurse on an ongoing basis, children are receiving the most necessary care and nurses are finding fulfillment in their career.

How does PHS determine the number of hours needed?

In order to best triage the scarce number of nurses available, we will conduct ongoing assessments of cares being provided for your child. These assessments will be done every 60 days, after every hospitalization, and with any significant change in your child’s health status. Changes in assigned hours will be discussed directly with you.a PHS home care nurse checks a patient's equipment

Some patients will require a high level of home care nursing throughout their lifetime. In those situations we will continue to provide the home care nursing hours reflected by our ongoing assessments, and as authorized, by your child’s insurer. For many others, as you and your backup caregiver(s) develop the skills and competence to care for your child, we will reduce the number of hours we provide to reflect those cares that can only be done by a licensed nurse (e.g., sterile suctioning, wound care requiring medical devices, infusion therapy requiring nurse administration, unstable complex feeding regimens).

In some cases, care may be delivered by a skilled nursing visit rather than extended hours.

Why are you going to “block” scheduling?

Retaining our nurses is a top priority for PHS. Because nurse applications are much lower than in previous years, it’s imperative that we retain the staff we have. Many nurses have told us that one big reason for leaving PHS was the frequency of unpredictable and last-minute schedule changes, allowing them to better plan important aspects of their personal life.a PHS home care nurse adjusts a patient's tubing

We realize some families prefer much more flexibility with their schedules than we are currently able to provide. However, if we don’t retain our nurses and are unable to find replacements for those who do leave, you will experience more open shifts.

Check back next month as we talk about training and additional shifts. As always, please feel free to call Karletta Crawford at 651-642-1825 if any questions or needs arise related to home care nursing.

Originally published: July 29, 2016