Depending on the number of people served locally, each of our regions employs between 1 – 3 Registered Nurses (RN) to coordinate a variety of medical services to make sure you loved one is safe and healthy. The main tasks include:
- Coordination of medications; orders, supplies, related documents, refills
- Coordination of medical appointments; scheduling, discussion issues with physicians and family members, preparing appointment runners with specific instructions, and attending key appointments personally
- Training staff on all medically-related procedures, including medication pass, medical documentation, signs and symptoms of illness and injury, and when to call the nurse.
- Emergency management
- Coordinating with other members of the professional services team to ensure that the medical perspective is included in every related decision.
- Coordinating necessary lab work and other tests
- On-going communication regarding medical needs and issues with identified family members
Our nurses ultimately serve as the medical advocate for each person we serve. Sometimes their efforts are required for that extra push necessary to get a physician to order a special test or refer to a specialist. Our nurses understand that their “patients” cannot necessarily advocate effectively for themselves, and the advocacy of a caring nurse who is willing to push harder for the best possible care is very important for the people we serve to get the same quality of medical care as anyone else.
Watching for signs and symptoms of illness in the people we support is paramount to the success of our program. Some people with intellectual or developmental disabilities do not have all of the life-skills necessary to maintain their own health and thus require trained, experienced people to help.
Early detection of changes in daily routine, appearance, mood, behavior, way of communicating, or physical health is an important factor in maintaining our residents overall health. We are sensitive to these signs or changes as they may be an indication of a medical condition, illness or injury. In concert with our full-time nursing staff, our Caregivers are trained in observation techniques that help decrease the time it takes to consult with a nurse or doctor for medical issues. This helps us to guard the resident’s health effectively before simple issues become big ones.
Our nurses are on call 24/7 to take care of residents that become ill and/or to distribute medication and for handling medical questions from in-house staff. If any additional medical needs become necessary, we do everything needed to properly arrange transportation to and from appointments.
Our nurses also regularly perform a comprehensive assessment covering all medical areas including:
- Medical history
- Current vital signs, current medications, and current doctors and therapies
- Fall risk assessments
- Ears/Nose/Throat, Neurological, and gastrointestinal evaluations
- Musculoskeletal assessments, skin assessments, endocrine, and nutritional assessments.
They also note any mental status changes/observations including: appearance, mood, cognition and emotional status, and note any challenging behaviors harmful to the individual’s health.
The HCS Program covers up to $2,000 per year for most dental services, as needed. Our regional service planning team of professionals will obtain a dental treatment plan for your loved one, and meet with you and your loved one to determine how best to use the available funds to meet your loved one’s dental needs, as recommended by the dentist.
Our nursing staff will monitor changes in available funds throughout the year, and schedule dental appointments strategically to maximize those funds and ensure your loved one maintains great overall dental health. You can continue to use your current dentist, or try any of the dentists that are currently serving our group. For people in the ICF program, Medicaid covers most dental expenses, as needed. In both programs, however, cosmetic services are not covered, including orthodontia.
Our Nursing regional teams, including RNs and medical assistants, coordinate all physician’s appointments as needed. However, our teams are happy to include you in this process to whatever extent you wish. We can let you know ahead of time about every appointment, so that we can get your feedback and provide the physician with whatever information you wish for the physician to have. We will also facilitate your participation in this process in lesser or greater ways, depending on your wishes.