If you are preparing for your first nursing home visit, read this guide. This is packed with helpful tips so you can be prepared.
Reasons Nurses Do Home Visits
There are lots of reasons that a nurse might visit someone’s home. Before I share some of my tips, it’s important to understand the purpose of the visit. Each type of home visit will have different goals and outcomes, so you’ll do different things when you arrive.
These are the main reasons that nurses might do home visits:
- Care for a sick patient as a home-care nurse
- Teach care techniques to a postpartum family
- Assess the living condition of a patient and/or their family members for upcoming care
- Teach people about prevention and control of diseases from within their homes
- To promote the utilization of community services
Your chances of doing a home visit as a nurse will depend on where you work. Typically, community outreach organizations and home health care agencies will do the most frequent home visits.
How To Decide Whether To Do A Home Visit
If you are a new nurse, you probably won’t be the one making the decision about whether to visit a patient’s home, but it is still good to know how the decision is made.
Typically, these are the main guidelines that health care providers use to decide whether nurses should visit a patient in their home:
- The needs of the patient and their family – including physical, psychological, and educational
- Patient and family’s acceptance and willingness to cooperate
- Patient and family’s ability to recognize their needs and their ability to use the resources for their benefits
- How many health personnel are already involved in the care of this specific family
- The policy of the agency in regards to the home visits
How To Do A Home Visit
When it comes time to do your first home visit, just follow these steps in order. This will help you have a pleasant experience and make sure you don’t forget something important.
1. Greet The Patient
Arrive with a smile and introduce yourself. Remember to state where you are coming from and your role in the agency. Make sure you ask them their name and what they prefer to be called (if they have a nickname).
2. Tell Them The Purpose Of The Visit
Go into detail about why you are there and what you are hoping to accomplish. This part should be detailed so that they know what to expect.
3. Assess The Patient
Next you will do a quick observation and assessment. This is a silent and mental one so that you know what you will have to do while on your visit.
4. Set Your Bag In A Clean Place
Make sure your bag is sitting on a table that is lined with clean paper. Then, wash your hands with soap and water. Take out all the tools you will need for your visit so they are easy to access. Put on an apron, close the bag, and you are ready for your nursing care treatment.
5. Perform Your Nursing Care
After you are all prepared, you can do the care which you came to do. One of the most important things you will do on these visits is educate the patient and/or their family. Listen to their questions attentively and answer them the best you can. Direct them to any community services if you cannot help them right away.
6. Keep Excellent Records
Write everything down. Record the date, what you observed, and all the care you gave the patient. Also write down everything you told the family for caring for the patient at home.
7. Make Another Appointment
If necessary, make an appointment to return and give more care. This is always needed, but don’t leave until you verified whether they need a follow up.
Nursing Home Visit: Final Thoughts
It might be nerve-wracking to think about visiting a patient or their family at their home. If you are really nervous, you can ask a friend or family member to help you prepare. Do a few practice runs as you introduce yourself and go through the motions of the assessment and care.
Set realistic expectations for yourself. If you need notes to remember what to ask, then take them along. Always ask for help when you need it. These can be very valuable and give the education and support that the patient and/or their family
More Nursing Tips
If you enjoyed these nursing home visit tips, then here are some more tips and advice about life as a nurse.
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