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This is a discussion on Tools of the Trade in Home Health Nursing, part of Nursing Specialties ... I've been mostly "lurking" around the boards these last few years as a CNA/CMA and nursing student,...by Ddestiny Jun 5, '12I've been mostly "lurking" around the boards these last few years as a CNA/CMA and nursing student, and now I am finally an LPN! I just got offered a job in Home Health working with technology-dependent peds. I'm excited to get started in a job that will give me experience as well as flexibility as I continue on with schooling.
My question is...while I have worked in home health before it was as a companion -- no certifications -- and I never thought to bring anything with me aside from the required paperwork. I have a nursing bag and stethoscope from school from school, and was going to get a sphygmomanometer (though maybe I'd need 2 for different sizes? My patients can be up to 21 years of age) and a thermometer. What items do you all take to your assignments?
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- Jun 5, '12 by caliotter3You should get a child size, and perhaps an infant size, blood pressure cuff to go along with your adult one. And of course, a thermometer and steth. Although most homes will have them, you can't always count on it. A pulse oximeter is optional. If pulse oximetry is ordered, there should be one in the home. A flashlight is handy, particularly if you work nights.
- Jun 5, '12 by MomRN0913My agency provided me with a fully loaded bag. BP Cuff, stethescope, bag with some basic dressings, alcohol wipes, blood draw and culture tubes, rulers, hand sanitizer, soap..... ask what they provide for you before you go shopping. And congrats!
- Jun 5, '12 by luv-of-kidsAside from the basic nursing items already mentioned, my advice from my own personal experience is to bring some extra personal care items if you are going to be doing the 8 or 12 hour in home shifts (which is what most LPN's do in home care). I always keep extra baby wipes, body wash, baby shampoo, combs, pony tail holders, washcloths (have one patient that there is hardly ever any clean washcloths in the house), bandaides and peroxide. These are items that you would assume should be in the home but with homecare you just never know what kind of situation you are walking into. Sometimes it's a money issue and sometimes the parents are so busy they didn't realize they ran out of something and of course by the time you realize, they have already left for work. Also there should be gloves in the home but you can ask the office for a box to keep with you in your car. Of course not everyone chooses to buy the extra items (perfectly okay, personal choice) but if you do, keep your receipts, you can claim it on your taxes as work expenses along with your uniforms, shoes, stethoscopes, etc. Hope that helps you at least know not to expect all the comforts of home all the time. Good luck!!!
- Jun 7, '12 by DdestinyThank you for all of the great advice! I did talk to my boss and she said that everything should be in each home with the exception of a stethoscope, but I will definitely be on the look out for the need to be buying more items. I think it's a good idea to have a full nursing bag handy anyway -- never know when you might need it.
- Jun 7, '12 by 2010NewRNI think a blood pressure cuff you're familiar with is very important, so I always take my own even if I'm told there is one in the home.
First, the b/p cuff might not be there as you're told. Second, it might not work correctly, and if you're not familiar with it, how would you even know? Plus, I'll admit, I've run into some I just can't operate.
I feel more reassured of my results if I'm using a piece of equipment where I know I can trust the readings I obtain!
Just my 2 cents.
- Jun 8, '12 by amoLuciaGLOVES GLOVES GLOVES I don't do homecare, but from other posts that I've read here, not having gloves readily available has been a problem for you guys. Even the usually well-supplied home could run out and/or your agency may not be able to provide any. And this doesn't account for the unexpected 'code brown' or throw-up episode that could occur.
I might suggest making small baggies of say, 12 gloves per bag. Bring in just one bag ... it's not your responsibility to provide supplies for others but you'll have enough for yourself with a few leftover to leave there if you need.
And I know this is a bit belated for National Nurses, but kudos to all you homecare nurses for your services.
- Jun 8, '12 by mg2312GLOVES!!! even if the agency/family tell you they're going to supply them..you WILL run out at some point and it can take DAYS to get them replaced!! not to go against the post above me...but I do pediatric home care and a baggie of 12 or so gloves - I would not recommend(I learned the hard way!! YUCK!). I keep a box of 50 gloves in my bag at all times! and always make sure I have a replacement when I get to a little less than half.
- Sep 23, '12 by owlRN01Great advice here Thanks everyone!