Nurses In Telehealth and Why It is Important

Our technology through the years has been advancing to provide patients with nurses that can manage their care through the telephone and through field visits in their homes.  With the recent pandemic that has spread throughout the globe, more than ever the field of nursing doing telehealth has become important.

Through my job as an independent nurse consultant, I am able to provide much needed and sought after medical information to my patients and their family caregivers via telephone and telehealth.  In order for me to do this, I must be able to have good communication skills and if I am providing telemedicine a good eye for what may be concerning my patient.  In the past few years, telehealth has grown.  According to the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nusring (AACN).  “Telehealth practice originally began when registered nurses (RNs) were available to patients by telephone to ensure they had access to health care. The RNs triaged patients to appropriate levels of care. ”

Many people lately since the pandemic occurred ask me what do you do for work?  My answer is, as a nurse consultant, I educate and assess my patients about their medications, symptoms, and chronic disease processes.  I ensure that they are making follow up appointments with their primary care doctors or their specialist.  Together we develop a plan of care that will best suit their current situation.  Now I also have injured workers that are seeing their doctors and anxious to get back to work.  They sometimes have chronic conditions that through my assessment they may or may not know about.  These are the moments when as a nurse consultant, I can educate them, provide best practices, and refer them to their primary care doctor to get the help that they need.  As for their injuries, I help them to get the right treatment ordered and coordinate their visits to another specialist that can help them when a referral is needed.  My job does not end there though, coordinating light duty work for the,m with their employing agency is another aspect of what I do.

Having a telehealth nurse allows doctors the ability to follow up with patients that are not able to come to the office as frequently by carefully monitoring the medications that they are on after they are reconciled with their pharmacist.  It also allows for a team approach in managing their healthcare with their caregiver and the patient to provide autonomy, a willingness to participate, and be involved in their own healthcare.

One important time that my patients benefit from is pre and post-surgery.  These are scary times for patients and knowing that they have a nurse to contact them and review their instructions before surgery, plan for their needs after surgery, and contact them afterward, assures them that they can manage their needs while waiting for the follow up with their doctor.

This year with Hurricane Dorian almost hitting Florida, there was preparation to plan ahead for patients especially those that were in need of a special needs shelter due to compromised health.  It takes preparation at the beginning of the hurricane season to assess all your patient’s needs and plans for disaster.  I usually start this around June 1st right when hurricane season starts so that if one should happen, we are prepared with the patient’s plan of care.  Once the warning is issued that we need to prepare, then I contact each one of my patients and put their emergency plan into place.  I visit each patient and make certain that they are prepared.  Once the danger is over, I follow up with each patient by phone and when it is safe to go out, I will visit them in their homes to ensure that they are safe.

Most all my patients receive an in-person visit from me at their home or doctor’s office but they also receive phone calls to maintain the communication lines open about their care.  Usually, I have flexibility in my schedule to take time off to spend it with my husband and my son or catch up on housework to free up my weekends.  However, during this pandemic of COVID-19, my short days have turned into 16 plus hour days almost 6 days a week and somedays 7 ( although I try to not let that 7th day happen).  Many ask what happened to your comfortable hours?  Well COVID-19 changed that !!  My patients are scared, they have more questions, I have more telehealth visits at doctor’s offices with patients because I am not able to go per my contracted client accounts; it is for their protection and mine.  So although tiring, I am grateful that I can still provide the care that they need through telehealth.

So today someone dropped off a sign at my door that says they are praying for healthcare heroes and first responders.  I am honored to be among the professions that help support our patients at home to keep them safe during this pandemic.  Every telehealth visit that I make with each patient has a COVID-19 question and answer session and they know that if they have a question, they can contact me.

So today, find a healthcare worker and honor them with a kind word of encouragement.  We are here working for the health of our country.

This is the sign that was left on our front yard today( Pardon the garden we were going to start planting flowers in it until COVID-19…times are too busy for gardening)

Rosie Moore, DNP, RN

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Website:  Windermere Baby and Family

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 Should I Be Concerned

There is a lot of stress and fear globally regarding the COVID-19 and what we are supposed to be doing to protect ourselves.  The media, friends and family, popular theme parks, businesses including airlines, cruises, and places of attractions, all have something to share about the COVID-19.  This is a household word that gets used in households on a daily basis probably more times than we want it to be.  Should we be concerned? That is an outstanding yes!! Why?  Well, first of all, let’s dissect what is happening, fear ( false evidence appearing real).

There is a lot of things that we are uncertain of and many times people will provide us information that may not be accurate.  They are not telling us to be mean, but they themselves are scared because they do not have all the facts.  Our healthcare professionals are leaning on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization ( WHO) to provide them the latest facts.  I am sure there are doctors who specialize in microbiology ( that famous petri dish that I hated in college) to do a battery of tests on this organism.  They learn something new each day.  There is not a specific cure as the virus has not been here long enough to develop a vaccine against it.  This is what causes the fear of not having a cure, not knowing if you contract it what will happen to you, your family, and your job, not to mention your friends.  So now that we dissected what the real issue here is fear, let’s see if we can put your mind at ease while we let the professionals figure out how to eradicate this virus.

“First of all Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness
that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during
an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.”

“The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who
are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
through respiratory droplets produced when an infected
person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person
can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has
the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or
possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main
way the virus spreads.”

The symptoms are Fever, Cough, and Shortness of breath.  Pretty common symptoms that can be overlooked for many upper respiratory infections.  These symptoms can manifest themselves at any time in the 2-week window after becoming infected.

The way to protect yourself and others from catching the COVID-19 is to practice washing your hands for 20 seconds with antibacterial soap before eating, after eating, after using the bathroom, after touching your nose, eyes, or mouth.  You should also wash your hands after coming from the grocery store or any other public place that is not your home.  If you do not have access to soap and water right away uses the antibacterial right away.  If you shake hands with someone, do not be afraid to use your antibacterial.  I know people may frown at that and think you are germophobic, but really it is okay if questioned a simple explanation stating that you want to practice good infection control and want to be certain that you do not compromise them or your family is enough stated.

Always wash your hands after preparing food and serving or taking care of others ( no matter age).  Avoid contact with people that are sick and if you feel sick, stay home.  do not try to go to church, restaurants, activities, school, or any public spaces with multiple crowds and pawn it off on allergies. Everyone knows allergies are not contagious so many people who cannot afford to stay home because they do not get paid for being out, tell everyone that they have allergies.  Yes someone may have allergies but until this is verified by a doctor or nurse practitioner, stay home!

Be sure to clean surfaces with antibacterial wipes or household disinfectants as the virus can live on surfaces and if touched it can cause someone to get the virus.  When you come home from the outside, take your shoes off outside clean the bottom of the shoe and do take a shower at night before bed or if possible as soon as you come home from work.

I know this all may sound excessive, but if you follow good infection control, it will help decrease the stress that the media is causing you by playing the news 24/7.  Limit the times that you watch the news so that you are able to function on a day to day basis.  Have a cup of chamomile tea for bed to allow your mind to relax and get rest.  Start your day with something positive such as a daily devotion, prayer, or if you do not do any of the latter, watch a tv show that brings laughter to you.  Listen to the news midday or afternoon, this will give you at least what happened in the evening and the morning and not bombard you.

Sick Woman Cold

 

I hope that this has brought you some comfort.  For specific updated information go directly to one of these sites:

CDC/Center for disease control

WHO/World Health Organization

OSHA/Occupational and Safety Health Administration

As a nurse, I have to practice above and beyond the CDC, WHO, and OSHA rules so that I can protect myself and my patients.  So I understand and get everyone’s concerns right away.

Be blessed and be safe.