When our babies come home one of the things we need to wrap our minds around is the fact that we are going to have nurses at home to help us take care of our trached, vented and most of the time gtube fed baby. I wish it was this simple though. For most parents the NICU/PICU stay before coming home was a long and tedious road where we find ourselves sleeping at the hospital most of the time and spending countless days surrounded and waking up with strangers (nurses, RT’s, PT, etc). When our baby finally comes home the intrusion does not stop. We will have to deal with strangers in our home too. Well, at least we have some say into whom we allow in our home. We will have nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists come and do sessions as well as evaluations on our baby. They will tell you things about your child that you wish you never knew and some of course you are thankful to know about. In any case, since it seems I am already going off the topic here which is Private Duty Nursing I will try to bring myself back to the subject at hand.
Private duty nursing is a blessing and a curse. That is it in a nutshell. We hear of a lot of great stories about nursing and about the horrible stuff as well. This page is meant to help you formulate some questions to ask the nurse or nursing agency when they come and try to ask for your case. Most of them are the same because they follow certain rules and procedures and also governed by the same government institution, DADS. It’s up to us as parents what we make out of the whole private duty nursing situation. There are things we can control and there are things we leave up to God. After the questions I will list below that might help you figure out which nursing agency to pick I will also list some tips that might help you in this transition.
1. Bearing in mind that there is a shortage in nursing everywhere, how would you deal with a nurse calling off and what is usually the percentage that you will be able to find someone to come that shift?
2. What are the strategies you have in place to make sure that we are fully staffed the first four weeks upon discharge? Do you send a schedule for the month for staffing?
3. What are the rules for nurses regarding smoking, wearing nails, earrings, and perfume?
4. How often do supervisors/case managers come and visit and check?
5. How often are your nurses trained and is it a requirement that they know how to change a trache?
6. If I have a concern how soon are you able to respond and what would be the best way to contact you? Telephone? Voicemail? E-mail?
7. If I have a concern/problem with a nurse falling asleep what steps are in place to help stop it from happening again?
8. What duties does a day shift nurse supposed to cover? How about the night shift nurse?
9. What are the rules of the agency with regards to nurses using cellphones and computers (personal) during working hours?
10. What are the rules of the agency regarding breaks for nurses?
11. Do nurses come with us when we go to the doctors office?
12. When my child is admitted to the hospital does my nurse stay with him/her?
13. What are the expectations of PDN’s for parents?
14. What furniture do we need to have at home for the nurses?
Despite all the horror stories we hear, we need to have the expectation that nurses are professionals and we need to treat them as such. In my own home, I let them know they are welcome to the coffee and assortment of teas I have in my pantry and the disposable paper plates and spoons and forks if they do not want to use the regular china. I also love to cook and most of the time they are the tasters of any new dish I am trying to whip up in the kitchen. When my nurses come to orient I make sure that I tell them that I treat all my nurses as part of the team. We are Team Isaac! Everything that they do to keep Isaac home and keep up with the progress we are making goes a long way in helping him develop into a well rounded, normalized (keeping fingers crossed, cause he is naughty!) human being!