By Kirsten Barnhart, DHI Media News Editor –
When home care nurse Kayla Wannemacher gets to work, the first thing she does is get ready for a day of caring for individuals. Wannemacher, an RN with Community Health Professionals in Van Wert, offers skilled care services where nurses meet the patient’s needs from the comfort of their homes.
Wannemacher starts her morning of nursing visits by looking over her schedule of patients for the day. On a typical day, Wannemacher sees five to six patients. She makes sure to look over their care plan to see how she will be helping each patient. Before heading out to their homes, she gives them a call to let them know she is on her way.
Skilled care nurses provide intermittent care and services such as IV infusions, wound care, therapy services, medication management, lab draws, education for caretakers, and more.
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During a recent home visit, Wannemacher provided an infusion for client Nancy Warner, who has Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and Wagner’s Disease. Warner has utilized CHP’s in-home services for almost four years. Nurses from a Cleveland service were assisting Warner with the infusions. But, after discovering CHP and utilizing them for aide care and medication management, Warner advocated for them to do her infusions as well. Warner explained that she would never think of utilizing anyone else for her in-home visits.
“I had a brain bleed in 2016, and they (doctors) put me in a nursing home. They had to teach me how to walk and talk again,” said Warner. “When I got out of there, I came back home and CHP came to take care of me.”
“I wouldn’t go with anyone else,” she continued. “They are my family. It makes it nice having the same people instead of different people all the time.”
Typically, CHP tries to keep nurses with the same patients so that patients are familiar with their nurse.
Having a local business to care for all of her medical needs, “makes it nice,” said Warner. She recalled a time when she needed a specific medication. Wannemacher simply made a short drive back to the CHP office for the medication.
After caring for Warner, Wannemacher prepared for her next visit to a recently admitted patient outside of Ohio City. She called Mr. Larry Riley to him to let him know she was coming and then headed off to her next visit.
Helpful, hands-on care
Larry recently had a catheter installed after a surgery. Wannemacher made a home visit to irrigate the catheter and to teach his wife, Emily, how to care for the catheter when nurses are away.
“At the hospital, they told me how to do it, but they didn’t teach me hands-on,” said Emily, who explained that she learns better by doing. “Kayla showed me how to do it hands-on.”
Emily struggled to understand how to irrigate the catheter.
“I was trying to do it and I just wasn’t getting it, so I called the hospital and they said they couldn’t do it over the phone and I’d have to bring him in,” said Emily. “After just getting him home and comfortable, we had to get dressed and go back to the hospital at midnight.”
“I knew Kayla was coming the next morning, and that was a big relief. When she had me do it while she was here, that was the key,” Emily continued. “They’re so good when they do it that they can hold all four instruments in one hand.”
“It’s satisfying knowing that you have someone that is experienced with this and knows how to handle it,” added Larry. “It’s comforting knowing someone is so close and is coming out to take care of it.”
Larry noted that Wannemacher was very quick in responding to the initial in-home visit. She explained catheter care and a proper irrigation schedule.
“Our main focus on the first day was to show Emily how to do it and getting her comfortable doing it,” said Wannemacher.
Connection with patients
When caring for each patient, Wannemacher takes vitals and does a head to toe inspection during every visit. She makes sure to sterilize all equipment, and often makes conversation with clients as she’s caring for them.
Wannemacher has worked with CHP for four years. She graduated from Parkway High School and resides in the local area with her husband and children. She obtained her nurse’s license in 2013 and worked at Adam’s Memorial Hospital upon graduation.
“At a young age, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Wannemacher. “In high school, after school, I would go sit with a little boy who had autism, and I would help him with his homework, and we would do therapy. His mom was actually a nurse at CHP, so I actually got to shadow her one day. I really liked it and just knew from that point that nursing is what I want to do.”
While working in a hospital setting, Wannemacher noticed that she had trouble leaving work at work and would often worry about her patients. Wannemacher noted that she feels connected with those she cares for. One of the reasons she has loved working for CHP is that she is able to have peace of mind about her patients.
“Here at CHP, if I’m worried about them, I’ll pick up the phone and call them and ask them how they are doing,” said Wannemacher.
She said she also loves going out and about into the community.
Something new each day
“Every day is something new and different,” she explained. “I get to deal with all different ages of patients. We’ve had a 1-year-old before and a 102-year-old. It’s a lot of different people, a lot of different stuff, and we can basically do everything you can do at a hospital in their homes.”
Wannemacher also enjoys allowing patients the freedom of staying in their homes near the end of their lives as CHP offers in-home hospice care.
“We can be there quickly when people call, even if it’s the middle of the night,” said Wannemacher. “Being local, we can get to people a lot faster and tend to their needs.”
CHP services all areas of Van Wert County and can provide many different areas of hospice care and skilled home care.