Monday, July 19, 2010

Attleboro RN brings Congressman to work for a day...

I was forwarded this piece earlier today and present it here for a few reasons: First, the idea of showing our policy makers how powerful and effective home care can be is a powerful and effective advocacy tool and also to recognize Jim McGovern... our true Massachusetts champion when it comes to home health care.

It does not often happen that you get to explain to an elected official what you do for a living. Last week, I had that very chance when I took Congressman Jim McGovern to work with me - specifically to the home of a patient that I care for in my job as a visiting nurse.

The patient whom we visited suffers from congestive heart failure, hypertension, and other ailments. Before we admitted him to Community VNA for care, he had been in and out of the hospital and spent five weeks in a nursing home.

In addition to getting excellent nursing care, this patient's vital signs are monitored using state of the art telemonitoring technology, which transmits his vital signs, such as weight and blood pressure, to us so that we - and his doctor - can understand what aspects of his life are impeding his recovery and intervene immediately if needed.

It gives the patient and family the ability to interact with a nurse seven days week, allowing for more opportunities for teaching and asking questions. This technology has been proven to eliminate repeat hospital admissions, saving Medicare countless dollars - and giving the patients and families peace of mind. The problem is that the federal insurance program Medicare won't pay for it - which takes me back to my "bring a congressman to work day."

A picture - or, in this case, a face to face visit - is better than a thousand words. Congressman McGovern already knew a lot about home care - he is the founder and chair of the Home Health Working Group in the U.S. Congress. Seeing this telemonitoring technology up close, he immediately agreed to sign on to and support the Fostering Independence Through Technology legislation that home care agencies across the country are supporting. If passed, it would help us to bring this technology to hundreds more local residents.

It has been a privilege to work for Community VNA for almost 20 years and to know that we are making a difference in helping to keep patients in their own homes for as long as possible and teach them how to manage their own health care in the future - but it is also rewarding to know that our needs are recognized in Washington and will be championed, thanks to Congressman McGovern. SANDY LEGG-FORGIEL is a registered nurse and telemonitoring coordinator for Community VNA of Attleboro.

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