Home health pediatric nurses care for children in their homes. They may care for children after discharge from a hospital or they may care for children whose families prefer them to receive care at home instead of being admitted to a hospital. Children may have serious illnesses or disabilities or they may be recovering from serious injuries or extensive surgery.
Home health pediatric nurses develop a plan of care for each child they treat. The plan of care includes how often nurses will visit, whether any other home health services are needed such as home health aides, occupational therapists or physical therapists, and what services will be provided. Care plans are reviewed and updated periodically.
Home health nurses assess their patients' conditions during every visit. The assessment may include taking a child's vital signs including temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiratory rate. The home health pediatric nurse will examine any wounds or surgical incisions, will weigh the patient, and ask about the patient's diet, bladder and bowel habits, and general health status. Home health nurses note any changes in the patient's condition and report any significant changes to the child's physician.
Administration of Medication
Nurses administer medication to pediatric patients in the home setting, including giving medications by injection or intravenously. Nurses may teach parents to give their children these medications as well, since nurses may not be present in the home around the clock. Nurses may also administer tube feedings to pediatric patients in the home.
Home health nurses perform a number of basic nursing procedures in the home setting, like starting intravenous lines, placing nasogastric feeding tubes, placing Foley catheters to empty a patient's bladder, drawing blood samples and changing dressings.
Home health pediatric nurses educate parents about their children's care. They may teach parents how to administer medications by injection or IV, how to administer tube feedings, how to catheterize a child, how to change dressings or how to monitor their child's vital signs. They may educate parents about their child's conditions and medications. If the child is old enough, nurses may also educate the child about his condition, medications and restrictions and may teach the child how to perform simple procedures like giving himself an insulin injection or using a catheter to empty his bladder.
Coordination of Care
Home health nurses often coordinate care between other health care professionals. For instance, if the child's physician did not order physical therapy or a home health aide, the nurse can make a referral for these services if her assessment determines a child might benefit from them. If home health aide services are needed, the home health nurse writes a plan of care for the aide to follow. Home health nurses communicate with physicians and other health care providers. They may also do things like schedule medical appointments for patients.
- Photo Credit doctor and patient 4 image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com
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