During the past seventeen years, I've had the privilege of working as a home healthcare nurse in two rural counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In the early 1990s, it was rare that our agency received referrals for IV antibiotics, opiate infusions for pain management or for total parenteral infusion (TPN) to be administered at home. Most patients stayed in the hospital for infusion therapy. Today, as more healthcare treatments are being shifted from hospital to outpatient or home care settings, referrals for home infusion have become more common in our area as well as across the nation (Jarvis, 2001).
I'll never forget my first patient whom I cared for with home infusion therapy for pain management. I learned a great deal from Sally, and to this day I always remember that I can make a real difference in patient outcomes when I keep—“First Things First”: the patient and infection prevention—when caring for any of my patients.
Gladys Polzien, MSN, RN, CHPN, is a Certified Hospice and Pallliative Nurse with a Masters in Nursing. She is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Finlandia University and a Quality Assurance Specialist at Keweenaw Home Nursing and Hospice.
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