Jane Hanahan, RN, BSN, MHA Director, Home Care/Hospice, Crozer-Keystone Health System
In Home Care, our goal is to teach diabetic patients to manage their disease process to prevent complications and ultimately prevent re-hospitalization. We visit new diabetic patients every day, going out first thing in the morning to teach them how to give themselves insulin. Once they are independent in that skill, we continue to visit them a few times a week, for about a month. During these visits, we teach them how to test their blood sugar, and discuss their dietary requirements, medications and medication interactions, as well as the importance of daily skin care and foot care. We’ve developed a very specific Home Care diabetic education packet with a patient handout outlining signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, what do about them and when to call the doctor so patients don’t get to the point where they have to call 911.
CKHS is fortunate to have a very dedicated Home Care team of nurses; physical, occupational and speech therapists; home health aides and a social worker. Together, they care for approximately 8,000 patients annually. For diabetic patients, we also collaborate with the CKHS Center for Diabetes nurses who provide our staff with invaluable ongoing education, and with the Wound Care Center to help patients suffering from complications such as diabetic ulcers.
Overall, CKHS Home Care has made a concerted effort to prevent re-hospitalization and the need for emergent care, and we are proud of our results. Nationally, the percentage of home care patients who are readmitted to the hospital is 30 percent; our Home Care rate is 22 percent. For home care patients who require unplanned medical care, such as an ER visit or emergency visit to the doctor’s office, our rate is 11 percent, just half the national average.
We are especially proud of our success in helping diabetic patients manage their disease, avoid hospitalization and enjoy a better quality of life.