Joan Browne is homecare manager, Home and Away Care, Cork/West Cork
A lifetime of nursing has made an early riser of me. I live in Bantry but travel to Bandon for work.
Making sure our carers are where they are supposed to be is my first task when I arrive at Bandon Medical Centre where our medical director Dr Pat Murphy is also based. Between us, we have a wealth of nursing and medical expertise, which I think sets us apart from other home care providers.
I have 20 years experience in the nursing profession, including director of Nursing and Midwifery at South Tipperary General Hospital.
I travel to the home of one of our patients to do a full needs assessment before drawing up a personalised care plan. When we are assigning carers, we try to match carer/patient personalities. I do an induction course with the carer on their first day — all of them are trained to monitor vital signs — and follow up with a return visit to the patient’s home a few days later, to make sure they are happy with the service. We value feedback.
Because we are a relatively new service, I am actively interviewing and recruiting. My background means I am fully aware of safeguarding requirements such as making sure carers are Garda vetted and have references. We have a bank of healthcare assistants and nurses to draw from and we can provide a range of care, from companionship, to light household duties, to home nursing care.
Lunch is on the run.
I carry out another home visit. This patient has chronic disease. Our focus is on preventing readmission to hospital. If chronic disease such as diabetes or arthritis is well managed, then the chances of being re-hospitalised reduce.
We don’t want people ending up on trolleys. If someone is hospitalised, we can provide home nursing care following discharge. Our staff also provide support care during the hospital stay.
I head home to Bantry. I worked in Bantry General for a number of years where I oversaw the setting up of an award-winning Rehabilitation Unit and an Acute Stroke Unit.
This experience will stand to me well. I have a good relationship locally with GPs and public health nurses, so if I have concerns about any of our patients, I can link in with them.