I never felt that I had a story to tell, but until you live it, you cannot possibly know what it is like. Several days ago, I sat by Joe’s bedside at home and talked with him about nurse delegation; he said what a great idea and wished it were effective now.
I can truly testify what nurse delegation would mean to my family. For the last five months I have been helping my cousin with home care. Her husband Joe was stricken with cancer of the spine, and now is paralyzed from the waist down. My cousin has a wonderful setup for her home … hospital bed, hoyer lift, wheelchair and a bright sunny room with TV and stereo equipment and a warm cozy wood-burning stove. She has also hired a health aide eight hours a day, seven days a week.
Our family has been there for my cousin this entire time. We have all given Joe his medication when his wife is not able to for one reason or another. But, as I said before, she has hired a health aid for eight hours a day. Unfortunately, the personnel are not allowed to dispense medication to Joe.
Our family members are not medically trained individuals. Joe’s primary care physician and oncologist presented us with a list of daily routine meds, pain meds and anti-anxiety meds as needed. On our own we devised a daily planner listing all of the meds and the time to dispense. We are extremely careful about reading the medication label and placing his meds in a small plastic cup and then giving him what he is suppose to have at the proper time. This is done three times a day.
Sadly, the cancer has now spread to the brain. Joe has been in the hospital for two weeks receiving radiation. We are hoping he comes home very soon, and I know we will be adding more meds to his list.
Trust me when I say I want to help my cousin in any way that I can, and I will do whatever is needed. Allowing nurses to delegate medication administration to home health aides makes a lot of sense for this family and would relieve some of the burden that people go through with their struggle to comfort the sick and elderly.
I cannot even imagine the cost savings that can occur with nurse delegation.
We are only one family, and no matter what, we celebrate every day we have with Joe. We will look forward to nurse delegation becoming law. It may come too late for us, but I am sure other families would be grateful.