VNSNY nurse Diane V. was on her way to a home care visit. Her patient was an elderly woman with congestive heart failure, coming home from the hospital. On her way, Diane stopped at a bodega to pick up some essentials: bread, bananas, and a few other nutritious foods.
Diane had received a concerned call from a nurse practitioner at the patient’s hospital. The nurse practitioner was worried that the patient might not have any food in her home. So on her own time and with her own money, Diane purchased some groceries for the patient.
“I said to myself, ‘Before I see her, I’m going to get her some food, just in case,’” recalls Diane. “I had visited this patient a few weeks earlier. I knew that she lives alone and has a history of diabetes, in addition to congestive heart failure. I was thinking about all that before my visit.”
Adds the nurse practitioner from the patient’s hospital: “It’s visiting clinicians like Diane who make it possible for patients with complex chronic conditions to transition safely from hospital to home. All the people at VNSNY are heroes.”
As it turned out, Meals on Wheels had just made its first delivery when Diane arrived, but the bread and bananas were much appreciated. So was another essential element of Diane’s care: reassurance. Diane was a familiar face, and she and her patient share a Puerto Rican heritage and speak Spanish.
“I was so glad to see this patient, and she remembered me,” says Diane. “That made her less anxious. As a result, I was able to persuade her to let people help her. I reminded her that she’s just out of the hospital and may not be as strong right now as she used to be.”
This is the kind of personal, holistic care that VNSNY delivers to New York’s most vulnerable—care that’s more important than ever during the coronavirus emergency. The current pandemic is an especially important time to make sure patients stay safe and strong at home and avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions. Diane has a unique perspective on this. Until recently, she worked in an ICU setting.
Now, as a home care nurse with VNSNY, Diane enjoys being able to provide one-on-one care to patients in their homes. She can focus on teaching her patients and take the time to make each one feel special, heard, and understood. “It’s important to let people know during this emergency that they have somebody to take care of them,” she says. “When we’re visiting a patient, we can be present, talk to them, and really listen—and that brings them comfort.”
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