This blog post was written by Marquina Watts, MSN, who is a Nurse Resident at Independence Plus.
Home care nurses play a multifaceted role in their patients’ lives. When people are asked about their definition of home healthcare, the answers vary greatly. So what exactly is it? Defined by Medicare.gov, it is a wide range of healthcare services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. It is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as the care you get in a hospital or long-term care facility. The goal of home health care is to treat the illness or injury while helping people regain their independence and become as self-sufficient as possible. Independence Plus, Inc. (IPI) is unique in focusing on high acuity specialty home care. Our patient base is medically complex, and we set the standard in employee training and quality home healthcare delivery. IPI nurses are trained to become specialists in treating patients with some of the more rare ventilator-dependent diagnoses.
Who do we care for?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), epilepsy, Muscular Dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), and traumatic brain injuries are a few of the diagnoses that are cared for within our pediatric and adult population.
How are IPI nurses different?
What sets us apart from traditional home healthcare nursing is that most all of our patients are ventilator dependent, increasing the complexity of our patients. Working closely with our respiratory practitioners, we are provided with intense ventilator training for the Philips/Respironics Trilogy 100 ventilator, Pulmonetic/Carefusion LTV 950, and LTV 1150 ventilators. Many issues can arise with a ventilator-dependent patient and critical thinking skills are a necessity. Many of our patients are not able to clear their airway effectively, resulting in an increased build-up of thick secretions. Our nurses along with our 24/7 on-call with experienced nurses and respiratory therapist, recognize early signs and symptoms of respiratory distress and implement early interventions. Discerning when to provide a nebulizer treatment or an emergency trach change is something our nurses experience daily during an 8-12 hour shift with one patient. With the right intervention at home, we are usually able to avoid calling 911 and transporting the patient to the Emergency Department.
What sets IPI nurses apart?
Being prepared to handle emergencies is a vital role of a nurse and the complexity of our patients requires more than competency in respiratory health. Home healthcare nurses have an additional role of eliminating all preventable complications and re-hospitalizations. Our nurses are trained to recognize early signs and symptoms and take measures to prevent situations that can result in unplanned hospitalizations, such as autonomic dysreflexia, occluded feeding tubes, bowel obstructions and uncontrolled seizures.
The reason why I love what I do!
Initially, when I began working at IPI as a new grad, I thought that I would miss out on maximizing my critical thinking skills, as well as, experiencing complex cases that I would gain in a hospital; however, I could not have been more wrong. I love being an IPI nurse! Ventilator competency was always a goal of mine while in nursing school. Being able to interpret values and sounds on the ventilator and recognizing when I need to take action before the ventilator alarm triggers, is rewarding. It is my rendition of preventive healthcare. Being autonomous in the home with medically-complex, ventilator dependent patients, requires me to be alert at all times.
I am challenged during each shift to utilize my critical thinking skills by thinking about complications that could harm my patient and thinking about the nursing interventions I can utilize to prevent such occurrences,. When traveling with patients, whether to school or the grocery store, the in-depth training provided by IPI has prepared me to confidently handle all trach, ventilator and g-tube emergencies in any environment.
Nursing is my true passion. Becoming a home healthcare nurse at IPI did not hinder my growth as a skilled, critical thinking nurse. Instead, my abilities to assess accurately, think critically, act quickly, and prevent a trip to the emergency room have been enhanced. I constantly seek knowledge and remain abreast on up-to-date evidence-based practices. I am a competent nurse and my patients trust me to make them feel comfortable and safe while increasing their quality of life – physically and psychosocially. I am happy and I am definitely not your ‘average’ home care nurse!
JOIN OUR TEAM: Nurses hired at IPI are immersed in a hands-on training and education program designed to prepare them to provide the best possible care for patients with complex medical and respiratory needs living at home. We are currently looking for full-time and part-time LPN’s and RN’s, a Home Nursing Clinical Manager (must be RN), as well as recent nursing graduates who would like to join our Home Nursing Residency Program, a unique opportunity for new nurses to gain critical experience at an early point in their nursing career. For more information on these positions, call 708.366.4500 (Option 1) to speak to a Healthcare Recruiter, or click here.