Everyone is eager to return home after a hospital stay, but some patients end up being re-admitted shortly after because discharge plans aren’t fully understood, such as the need to book follow-up appointments, or how to use newly prescribed medications properly.
With the North East CCAC’s new Rapid Response Nursing Program, nurses schedule an in-home visit within the first 24-48 hours after a patient is discharged from hospital. Targeted to frail adults with limited family support or seniors with two or more readmissions to hospital within a three-month period, with a diagnosis of COPD, CHF, Diabetes or Dementia, the new program provides a wide range of nursing services, including medication reconciliation.
Initial response to the CCAC’s Rapid Response Nurse Program has been overwhelmingly positive.
North Bay-based Rapid Response Nurse, Jody Fetterly, RN, recalls a recent visit with a client who wasn’t doing well at home. “I will never forget the day that I arrived at a patient’s home to find him feeling very unwell. He had just come home from hospital the day before, and his wife was quite scared and about to call an ambulance because she didn’t know what else to do. It seems I had arrived at just the right time! After a thorough assessment and review of the patient’s discharge plan and medications, I helped the patient and wife understand that a trip to ER was in fact not necessary. With a few clinical interventions and phone calls to the Respiratory Therapist and family doctor, the patient’s immediate needs were met and they both felt relieved. Before I left their home I arranged for a follow-up appointment with their family doctor. The genuine gratification and relief expressed by the patient and his wife were extremely rewarding for me as a nurse.”
Rapid Response Nurses know that medication errors can happen anytime, especially when individuals have multiple prescriptions with varying dosages and schedules. Here are their tips on how you can protect yourself:
- Know the name and purpose of each of your medications
- Always take medications according to instructions
- Keep an up-to-date list of your medications on-hand
- Review your medications with your doctor or health care provider regularly
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor about potential side effects and drug interactions
- Return unused or expired medications to your pharmacist
- Remember that medications include over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies
- Talk to your pharmacist about medication dispensers or ‘blister packs’ and set up a system make sure you are taking the right medication at the right time and dosage
- Talk to your pharmacist about MedCheck to review your medications