Quote from FutureNurseLori
Teachers and books keep teaching students to assess the pt's financial situation as to whether or not they can afford the meds/treatments. Cool... what are we to tell them once we figure out they can't? I live in a suburb of a medium sized city. In the county of the city there are resources. If you make less than $15,000/anually there is help. What about those that make $15,001? What about the people in surrounding cities and rural areas without such programs? I can't find poop on the internet and I am fairly computer savy. What am I to tell these pt's that deserve to be helped? I have a friend of age 55 who cannot afford his blood pressure medication and makes barely enough to keep a one bedroom apt. I want to help him but I cannot find a way. Any suggestions?
For nurses working in acute care and skilled nursing facilities, the social worker and case manager are your best resource(s). Especially for patients who "fall between the cracks" of the system (i.e. income too high for most programs, but too low to be able to afford their care,) the social worker can help identify and access these resources. While it's important to know about these social resources, nurse educators sometimes forget that it's simply impossible for the bedside clinical nurse to be able to do everything: provide care, teaching the patient about his/her follow up care, reinforcing the importance of following his treatment plan, AND try to solve complex social issues after discharge. In the outpatient setting, more of the burden for finding supportive resources is placed on the office nurse, but (where the patient has health insurance,) it can be shared by the insurance case manager, along with utilizing the strategies listed above for minimizing medication treatment costs. In short, you can't fix this one yourself; it's a complex problem that requires the cooperation of multiple parties, not the least of which is the patient him/herself, adjusting financial priorities, permanently or temporarily, to meet changing health needs.