Residential Nurse Alert to the Rescue
Potential emergencies seldom announce themselves. In reality, a patient might notice feeling a little strange, or discover a change during routine monitoring, but how severe the situation is and what actions to take are rarely crystal clear. Questions that arise during nights or weekends, when there are fewer places for the patient to reach out, can be especially stressful — it can feel like the only options are to “wait and see” or go to the emergency room. For one patient with diabetes, the Residential Nurse Alert personal emergency response system not only averted a potential health emergency, but also provided a gateway to more informed and empowered diabetes self-management.
An after-hours concern
Late one Tuesday evening, the patient performed a routine blood sugar test and found that, although he felt fine, his glucose level was low (hypoglycemia). Without treatment, the patient knew he was at risk for a severe hypoglycemic episode (which can include fainting, seizure, or coma), so he drank two glasses of orange juice to restore his blood sugar. However, when he re-tested his glucose level, it had only risen from 57 to 64 mg/dL — still well below the normal range of over 100 mg/dL. Upon seeing this unexpected result, and unsure of what to do next, the patient pressed his Residential Nurse Alert button just before 10 p.m. to ask for help.
Residential Home Health’s on-call triage nurse listened to the patient’s concerns and was quickly able to provide helpful advice. She gave specific directions for what type of food to eat and when to re-check his blood sugar, and assured the patient that she would be there for him if the trouble continued. The patient followed the instructions with success, and what could have developed into an emergency situation instead became an ordinary night.
What’s more, the triage nurse also contacted Residential Home Health’s Diabetes Educator, Jennifer Greiner, who followed up with the patient the next day. Jennifer noticed that the patient’s plan of care included physical therapy, and realized that he might not have been aware that increased activity can change a person’s glucose needs. She teamed up with the Registered Nurse on the patient’s Residential Home Health care team to coordinate a dosage change, and also scheduled a home visit for personalized teaching on diabetes management. The patient and his caregivers learned to:
- Watch for a target level of low blood sugar, and follow a specific course of action and self-monitoring until levels stabilize.
- Eat snacks rich in carbohydrates when exercising, or during periods of increased activity.
- Obtain glucose tabs to take during hypoglycemic episodes, and keep these tabs on the patient at all times.
Support and empowerment
Thanks to the convenience and assurance of Residential Nurse Alert, a single late-night concern allowed the Residential Home Health clinical team to provide this patient with immediate support, as well as additional tools to prevent future diabetes-related episodes. The patient reported feeling better and less anxious about managing his diabetes — all with one press of a button.
While this patient used Residential Nurse Alert for his diabetes concern, this exclusive mobile alert system can be used for any reason, day or night:
- Emergency situations
- Questions regarding hospital discharge instructions or medications
- Help with scheduling physician appointments
- Assistance with transportation
- Questions for your primary care physician
- Health concerns or any other reason
For Residential Home Health patients, Residential Nurse Alert provides Anytime-Anywhere-Anything access to their care team. Non-patients can also use the service to connect with Residential’s clinical team. In 2014, more than 300 probable hospital admissions were avoided with this system.
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