By Siobhan F. Austin
In June, VNA launched the Hospital Prevention Program (HPP), a new patient-centered home health service. It’s geared toward helping high-risk patients with severe diagnoses, like end-stage respiratory disease and congestive heart failure who are susceptible to hospitalization or rehospitalization, remain safely at home. Not only do patients benefit physically and mentally, but they avoid high costs associated with hospitalization.
And the service is excellent. “This program will enhance what the VNA excels in, which is stellar individualized patient care,” says Lisa Sellers, an Advanced Practiced Registered Nurse (APRN), who spearheads the program.
There are four main objectives that Sellers and her fellow VNA nurses focus on with their HPP patients. Number one is attaining their patients’ goals. “We often address their goals in relation to their diagnosis and prognosis,” says Sellers, who has been a registered nurse since 1996.
The second objective is medication management, which is particularly important for patients recently released from a hospital. “There’s often a medication discrepancy; they have one medication at the hospital and a different one at home,” says Lisa.
The third objective is timely follow-up, within 7-10 days, with a patient’s primary care physician (PCP) and specialists to coordinate the patient’s care. The fourth and final objective is patient centered education and coaching. “Patients may forget or may not understand their disease processes well. I give them a robust teaching on that and ways that they can prevent exacerbations of those diseases. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but many times it is not,” says Lisa.
Many of Sellers’ HPP patients are perfect candidates for VNA Hospice, which offers numerous benefits for the patient and their families that they can enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. For many, it’s a great option, but it’s a topic that’s not always easy to bring up. “Discussing hospice with patients and family can be difficult, but it can also be relieving for everyone. It is a delicate topic, but I will start with the patient’s goals and expound on that,” says Sellers. “I find it to be a privilege to discuss this topic with patients and their families.”
If a patient and family are open to hospice, Sellers refers them directly to the hospice team. If they are undecided and need more education, she’ll refer them to the VNA Hospice Advance Care Planning team for more clarification.
There are many advantages to being admitted into hospice early, including more quality time spent with loved ones. In addition, patients’ families have access to services that hospice provides specifically for them, which can be extremely helpful and contribute to their emotional healing. But perhaps the biggest selling point is that often patients live longer than expected in hospice care when admitted sooner rather than later. “It’s a better quality of life,” says Sellers, a big fan of hospice – and VNA in general. “VNA’s heart is for the community. The love this organization has for the community is limitless and amazing.”
Learn more about VNA services, call 772-202-3972 or visit us online at www.vnatc.com.