frequency on RN visits

  1. 0
    At our company we have a policy that all patients must be seen by a nurse no less that 2 days
    per week if stable. I feel this is unreasonable since as an RN I usually do both visits.
    Shouldnt an RN only have to visit pt once every 2 weeks. We only have 1 LVN:3RNs.
    Im told not to use LVN for visits unless I have more than 5 visits per day. I carrry the
    biggest caseload. I have to save the LVN for extra visits or continued care.
    This is very difficult even with the most stable pt. Caseload of 10, and only allowed to
    work 32 hrs (4days) Budget cuts. Thats 20 visits per week in just 4 days. With not enough time
    for anything else. I never have a good day anymore, its almost always hectic since these changes.
    I have to do my careplans on the weekend on my time off ( usually 5-6 hours to complete).

    I tried to ease my workload by placing 3 of my most stable pts
    to once a week and got reprimanded severly. Anyone think this is unreasonable?

    Can anyone share visit frequency and requirments of other hospices.

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  2. 14 Comments...

  3. 0
    I am not sure how to respond to your situation. It is curious to me that your agency does not allow the team to determine what the frequency of the visits should be based upon client/family need. Further, my experience has been the opposite of yours...the agencies that expect that all but the very unstable receive no more than once per week visits, thus allowing the RN case managers to carry a heavier case load. I wonder how the medical director fits into your situation. Is he/she aware of this "requirement"? Have you actually discussed the frequency of nursing visits at the team meetings? Is it possible for you to physically visit your stable patients once and provide phone assessment once during the week?

    The issue of completing documentation on your personal time with no compensation is ridiculous but not uncommon. What I would recommend is that you protect yourself as best you can. Knowing that you have routine visits which are very stable I can only imagine that it takes very little time to complete them both physically and in writing. I suggest that you utilize the full hour alloted for a visit to take care of as much documentation and POC maintenance as is possible. Use point of service documentation to your advantage when at all possible. While I understand that it is not always possible or appropriate to whip out the laptop and chart, I do know that when it can be accomplished during the visit it takes less time in general thereby making you more efficient.

    Just as a side, where are you located geographically? How long have you been in hospice as an RN case manager?

    You have my empathy. Good luck.
  4. 0
    Hmmm..we're having caseload/visit issues as well. I don't think it's unreasonable to see your stable patients once weekly, and for a while, we did that as well. Now we're back to the same as your company. Twice weekly, no matter what. They want our caseloads at 14 per RN with only 1 LPN floating amongst 5 nurses. So that's at least 28 visits/week, plus team meetings, careplanning, etc. It's getting hairy!

  5. 0
    Angie, like you, we were told twice a week no matter what. I really think this is a matter
    of PR since the company is fairly new, so maybe
    I just need to buck up and place my skates on. I want to see the company suceed, but at times
    it just gets so hard keeping up with all the demands. We just keep getting told by the managers that
    we need to keep our faces seen in the homes and facilities.
    Iam located in Texas and I do know that other hospice agencies let their casemanagers manage. Thus the
    name Case Manager. Humh.. I would like to see a visit frequency of 1-2x instead of 2x firm.
    And when can you use prn freq. on the care plan? I have seen others document 1-2x & prn, thus covering
    an extra visit should a problem arrise. That would eliminate having to change the careplan as much, would
    it not? Thanks for your responses.
  6. 0
    I believe that it is not appropriate to indicate the RN frequency with a range as in 1-2/wk. It would be more approp to give a frequency of 1x/wk with 2 PRN for symptom management. I do understand the company's desire to have the RN in a "client" facility frequently but it is quite a different matter to "require" a minimum of 2x/wk freq when the pt condition does not warrant that frequency. As is obvious to all case nurses, this really ties our hands and makes it less likely that we can be flexible in meeting the on-going and unexpected needs of the patients and company.
  7. 0
    What about when a pt is actively dying???? Don't you visit daily???? At our VNA the visits are totally up to the nurse. For documenting frequency in the POC we put 1-5x weekly x13 + 3-4 for sx management.
  8. 0
    I have 12 patients and see each of them at least 2x each week. It is required that I complete a minimum of 2 skilled nursing visits each week. Additionally, I attend all care plan meetings at the facilities of my patients, go to IDT/IDG, morning meetings on monday and wednesday, and whatever else pops up. It it busy, but I manage. It only really frustrates me when I hear a chaplain or sw complain how busy they are when they don't do half the visits I do each week. They are 1x per month and prn. I am 2x per week and prn.
  9. 0
    PS- I'm also on call at least 2 full nights each week plus every other weekend.
  10. 0
    I have 17 patients on my case load, no lpn. I feel guilty only seeing my stable patients 1x per week, but when I have patients on daily or watch visits (crossroads hospice watch program) I am forced to do so, so much can happen in a few days time, the most stable patient can decline and change rapidly. We still document on paper & have to update our careplans,mars, keeping up with facility orders/charts & office charts, IDG meeting notes/updates ongoing. I am constantly trying other ways to get organized better.
  11. 0
    jenkayaker...don't feel guilty about visiting the stable clients only weekly. That is part of the job. Those are the visits that allow you to complete a great deal of education...leading to families that are more likely to be well adjusted and confident in the last days. Sometimes when nurses come into hospice they are accustomed to families and patients being very dependent upon them for their every need...that is afterall how we see people in the hospital. My general plan for visits is this...when a person first comes on service I tentatively plan for visits 2-3/wk for the first week, maybe two. I plan to taper as quickly as possible to once weekly assuming that the patient is truly stable with all symptoms adequately managed. Any evidence of decline in the patient may result in an immediate increase in RN visits. In essence, I make the front and the end of the hospice experience nursing heavy...the middle is for the patient and the family...I WANT them to go, be, do...without worrying about appointments with me. There are always families for whom this model will not work, but in my experience they are NOT the norm. In a typical case load of 12-20 patients it is pretty common to have approx 1/3 of those patients who are transitioning and perhaps 1/3 who are pretty stable. The other 1/3 is shared by those who are actively dying, having some sort of a symptom crisis, or a caregiver issue requiring your oversight. The ability to organize your schedule along the lines of who needs to be seen based upon clinical judgement and CoPS rather than a corporate mandate is essential to providing the responsive, excellent hospice care that these people deserve. Using paper documentation slows you down...too bad your agency is stuck in the 20th century. You need to make sure that you use the mobile office tools available to you to improve your organization. Make sure that you keep frequently used forms with you AND in your car. If you spend a great deal of time in particular facilities, talk to the management and determine if you can keep things there that will improve your ability to meet the needs of your patients. Paper IDGs are a real bother but a necessary evil. If you don't have a notebook or some such method to keep ongoing notes for your patients give it a try. It may help you to organize your thoughts for IDG prep. I used a spiral steno pad. During my visits I would jot down notes that I thought might be pertinent to the IDG presentation, because they were organized by dates and time it was pretty easy to complete a quick review of the past several visits. Paper documentation doesn't allow you to review previous notes, so the notebook can help to jog your memory about a symptom or issue that you may want to follow-up on. Ask your aides to give you a call the day before IDG to report on any issues that they are seeing. Make sure that if the paper forms are not meeting your needs that you discuss this with management. I am sure that there are improvements that could be recommended by the nursing professionals on your team. Sometimes simple changes can improve your quality of "work life" significantly. Good luck!
    Last edit by tewdles on Aug 23, '09 : Reason: typo

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