I am a student nurse about to graduate in May, but I still have many papers to do. My question is about safety issues and home health nurses. If anyone could help, I would greatly appreciate it. I do need reliable sources. Thanks.
Mar 18, '99
There are so many issues relating to safety in Home Care today!! Many of these deal with just the environment we now live in. I think that the Home Care nurse now must consider all parts of the community as potentially dangerous. This is a shame when you think of the large elderly population that often doen't have a option as to where they can live. Let me know if there are specifics you are looking for, I've been in Home Care for 7 years and would be glad to share my experiences with you.
Mar 19, '99
DEBB, Thanks for your help with the home health safety issue. I am required to rewrite a policy and the one I chose was for safety of the home health nurse as she/he goes to visit the patient. The policy I have is very vague as to safety issues and the nurse. My ideas were to have the agency provide cell phones to their employees, to have these employees call before entering the house, and to have the agency provide self defense classes to their employees. Is this out of line? Thank you so much for your input.
Mar 19, '99
Our agency provides us with cell phones. We also have an escort service that will send an escort to meet us in a safe area(fast food restaurant parking lot for example) and accompany us to the patient's home. They can accompany us inside if necessary or will wait outside and see that we are safely escorted out of the area. We also have personal safety education in orientation and a yearly inservice by the escort service or other safety experts. I was pretty naive when I started home care but feel street smarter now. You need to be observant wherever you are. It is our agencies policy that a nurse is never to get out of her car if she feels uncomfortable in an area. It is always better to assess the situation and come back later with an escort than to risk your personal safety.
I once had a patient whose companion answered the door and told me the patient was in the basement with a gun and was threatening to kill her and anyone else who entered. I figured odds of a 89 year old who could barely walk, having a gun and shooting people were slim. However,I assisted the companion outside and down the street and called 911 to deal with the patient. It turned out he didn't have a gun but I wasn't going to be the one to find out.
Mar 26, '99
I have worked in community health for the last 4 1/2 years. We recommend that all our nurses should carry some sort of pepper spray. Our agency feels that if the nurse is concerned about safety she should carry a cell phone with her and have another nurse accompany her. Our policy and procedure has in it that a patient can be discharge from services if inappropriate actions are taken with the nurse or other safety issues occur.
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