Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Public Health Nursing

So, while on my Family Med rotation in January, several of the patients I saw were receiving assistance from Home Health Aides and Public Health Nursing. In these programs, patients would be visited in their homes by aides and/or nurses, and they'd receive help with tasks like filling up their pill boxes for the week, household chores and some personals cares (ie bathing.) I knew they were very helpful programs, but I really did not know any of the specific details of the services provided.

Today, I had the opportunity to follow a public health nurse around on her morning house calls. Let me tell you, these nurses are truly heroes. They brave mean dogs that bite (I saw the photo documentation of the bite marks), squalid living conditions (where every inch of the house is packed with trash and remnants of left-over food all covered in an inch of dust), inclement weather and a variety of other obstacles, just so they can get into your house to change the dressing on your diabetic foot ulcer and manage the 20+ medications you're taking for your congestive heart failure. And they'll even do it while you're hanging out in your underwear in your easy chair. Not sure why you couldn't put on pants, but then again, I'm also not sure why you would choose to never clean your home. And unlike me, these nurses won't judge you. My experience was definitely an eye-opening one. It's easy to imagine that all your patients have safe and clean living conditions when you see them in clinic, and the reality of their situations can really be quite shocking.

It is remarkable how much assistance and freedom these services provide to patients - without help from the public health aides and nurses, many of these individuals would absolutely not be able to live independently. They'd have to be in a nursing home or some sort of assisted care facility, for sure. As stated earlier, these nurses and aides are really providing a tremendous service.

In unrelated news, despite my pledges to the contrary, I purchased more knitting paraphernalia. But this is the last piece for a long time, I promise! I bought this
pattern by Carol Anderson. I am going to knit the baby-sized afghan with worsted weight yarn in a variety of colors that was obtained in my raid of Grandma L's stash a year or so ago. I am working on another baby afghan, and it's really taking forever to complete. Given that these blankets are intended for Raul's and my yet to be conceived, unborn children, I'd say I have plenty of time to finish them.


Ryan said...

So will you judge me if I had already made the decision to not wear pants in my wedding?

Shannon said...

Hmmm. No pants at your wedding? Is that your interpretation of semi-formal? It should make for some interesting wedding photos.

raymond said...

Ryan became so excited upon hearing about wearing only underwear while a nurse does a check-up that he wanted to give it a try on his visit to the doctor's office the next day.
He was in the lobby for 45 minutes with nothing but tighty-whities covering him. He finally went back to the nurse and he said the experience was, "Exhilarating."

Shannon said...

Hmmm. Sounds like someone's making light of my traumatic experiencing collecting vitals on an underwear-clad man. However, assuming that story your is true, I can only surmise that the nurse's description of their encounter was the antithesis of "exhilarating."

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