When I make a skilled nurse visit to a client’s home for medication set up I notice swollen ankles and puffy fingers. I know the client’s habits, so I ask questions about last nights dinner, today’s fluid intake, or how long they were out for a family get together.

After a couple of visits to a client’s home a nurse begins to earn trust. The client starts to behave as they do normally. Walls come down that a pharmacist or primary doctor may never see past.

It’s our job to make sure the doctor and pharmacist hears about what is really happening at our client’s home. With the information we provide, a doctor can know when a new medication will be effective or why an old medication needs to be stopped. A pharmacist can be sure when medications need to be filled and knows that old prescriptions are not being taken.

This is especially important for those taking large numbers of medications to address chronic illnesses and multiple diseases. Even more importantly the nurse is there to adjust bubble packs or medication dispensers when a doctor is adjusting medications frequently due to a new or changing illness.

The skilled nurse visit can seem expensive when paying per visit, but when you consider the cost of an emergency hospitalization caused by medication mistakes it is a small price to pay. The value you receive is found in living at home longer and the peace of mind found from having help.

Daniel Story, RN, CEO