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Understanding the changes to our home care nursing service

In an evolving health care landscape, hospitals and home care companies alike are examining current processes and models to ensure they can continue to provide quality care for those who need it most. Advances in technology and knowledge of diagnoses has led to a growing medically complex population in Minnesota, and although many patients could receive the care they need at home, they are in the hospital due to a lack of home care nurses available.

home care nurse suctions a trached patientRecognizing this growing problem, PHS took the time to reevaluate how our home care nursing department has functioned since it started in 2011. After a thorough analysis, changes were made to ensure complex patients would have their medical needs met, families felt empowered to be confident caregivers, and our nurses would be utilizing their clinical skills consistently.

With these changes come questions as families understand what their care plan will look like moving forward – and while staff are always available for questions, we thought we’d answer some frequently asked questions over the course of a three-part blog series to help clear up any confusion.

Of course, you can feel free to call 651-642-1825 and ask for Karletta Crawford if you have any additional questions. First, we’ll look at what we are currently doing (and not doing) in our new method.

Is PHS getting out of home care nursing?

a home care nurse helps a patientNo, PHS is not getting out of the home care nursing business. Our commitment to home care is a strong as ever. Despite the shortage of nurses in the home care environment and a low number of nursing applications coming into PHS, we continue to evolve this service.

What this means is that we will regularly review the work our nurses are doing during the hours of care that we provide for your child. We will not only consider your child’s diagnosis and medical condition(s), but also the level of care that we are providing. In all cases, the care we provide must be skilled nursing. We do not have a large pool of nurses to provide custodial or respite care.

Are you opening new cases right now?

a home care nurse prepares medicationYes, PHS is taking new clients on a very limited and controlled basis. The number of children in hospitals ready to go home is growing at an alarming rate. Without enough skilled nursing professionals in home care, these children and their families have been unable to transition from hospital to home.

PHS has not taken on any new home care nursing patients for the past year and a half. Also, feedback from our nurses indicates that without new cases they are not growing their nursing knowledge and skills and advancing their practice.

Check back next month for more answers to some of the questions we’ve received from current home care nursing families.

Originally published: June 29, 2016