FROM THE EDITOR - It Takes a Team
This month’s issue of Home Healthcare Nurse contains articles on a variety of topics that are of interest to home healthcare and hospice clinicians. The need to prevent unnecessary emergency department (ED) visits and hospital readmissions is of great importance, from a financial perspective of course, but also in terms of the patients’ and caregivers’ time and energy. Authors Deborah Fritz and Patricia McKenzie are nurse practitioners with the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in St. Louis MO. They have written a practical article to guide home healthcare clinicians as they assess patients with pneumonia, COPD and heart failure, three common diagnoses that often result in hospital readmissions and ED visits. Heart failure alone accounts for more than one million ED visits each year in the United States. As the authors point out, not all re-admissions and ED visits are avoidable, but armed with the proper knowledge, home care clinicians can use sound judgment in making this important determination.
Author Melissa Winkler is an Occupational Therapist in private practice with a specialty in animal assisted interventions. She and her colleagues define and differentiate the three categories of human-dog partnerships in health care and provide information on incorporating man’s best friend into home healthcare and hospice practice. Whether as companions, therapists or assistants, dogs can play a very important role in your patient’s recovery. I am delighted that Melissa and her co-writers shared their knowledge and expertise in Home Healthcare Nurse.
November is National Homecare and Hospice month. It really does take an entire month to properly thank and recognize the many disciplines that come together to provide quality health care and hospice services to millions of people every year. Imagine what would happen without home healthcare services! As a result of your efforts, people can return home and recover or experience a peaceful death in their familiar surroundings. In honor of National Homecare and Hospice month, Dr. Rita Ruel, Communications Manager for the Visiting Nurse Services of New York, the largest not-for-profit home care agency in the United States, has written about the woman who started it all. Lillian Wald was a woman with vision, and was very much ahead of her time. After seeing the deplorable living conditions of the early 20th century immigrants in New York, she sprang into action, founding the Henry Street Settlement and what ultimately became the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She and her nurse colleagues provided health care and health teaching to those living in the crowded tenements. When she was informed of the many children sent home from schools in New York because of contagious diseases and head lice she promptly proposed sending nurses to the schools. The plan was an instant success and school nursing was born. Read more about this inspiring home healthcare leader in Dr. Ruel’s interesting article and see photos of early home healthcare pioneer nurses.
As you can see from the list of authors this month, home healthcare is very much an interprofessional endeavor. The authors this month are registered nurses, occupational therapists, communication experts, and geriatric case managers. Clinicians from many disciplines are needed to work together as a team to produce the positive outcomes we see with home healthcare and hospice services.
With that said, there are exciting changes to share with you about Home Healthcare Nurse. Starting with your January issue, the title will change to Home Healthcare Now: The Interprofessional Journal for Home Care and Hospice Clinicians. Just as the title implies, the content of the journal will expand to recognize the interprofessional nature of home healthcare and hospice. A wider audience and readership will ensure that clinicians of all healthcare disciplines engaged in home healthcare and hospice will find articles that inform and guide their practice. As the only interprofessional home healthcare journal, we want Home Healthcare Now to be the go-to journal for all home healthcare and hospice clinicians.
We celebrate another important day in the month of November – Veterans Day. Author Lovie Wheeler describes a day in her life, as she proudly serves the men and women who served their country. As part of the Home Based Primary Care Department at John D. Dingell Veterans Administration Medical Center, Nurse Wheeler sees her patients in their homes across the greater Detroit area. She takes great pride in serving those who served and joins me in thanking all Veterans for their service.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you. Email me at HHNEditor@gmail.com.
Maureen Anthony, PhD, RN