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Onsite nurse offers health information and personal reassurance

Posted: April 26, 2013

It is Tuesday morning at Coleman House and a line is beginning to form. Residents are patiently waiting to meet with Leslie Rosenblatt, R.N. They know that when the door to her office is opened and Leslie steps out to invite them in one at a time, all will be better.

"Shirley, you look wonderful. Are you sleeping better this week?" 

Residents come to see Leslie for a variety of reasons. For some, it is a weekly dose of reassurance from a medical professional who is attentive and kind. For others, it’s an opportunity to clarify medical information that is confusing or to get a friendly reminder that it’s time to make an appointment with the primary care provider. The residents appreciate that Leslie really listens and takes the time to know them. There is no need to rehash histories. Visits are a time to check in about recent concerns.

“Estelle, your new shoes look like they give you great support.”

Leslie takes a preventive approach, In the course of every visit, Leslie inquires about the triggers that can lead to bigger concerns. She wants to know about changes in medication, dizzy spells, falls shifts in vision, and recent visits to the ER. And she will always ask about exercise. Despite an average age of 80, Leslie discusses fitness with the expectation that everyone is doing something. For the most part she’s right. Her visitors are regularly going to the gym or taking walks. One even reportedly happily that despite some chronic leg pain, she joined a Conga line that took place in the Coleman dining room. “I decided that if I go out while I’m dancing that’s not so bad!”

"Have you taken any falls since I last saw you Edith?" 

Leslie ends each visit by taking blood pressure and checking pulse rates. There are cheers when the numbers look good and gentle suggestions for improvement if not.

Before Leslie closes shop for the day, she writes up notes in each resident’s file so that she will know what to focus on at future visits. If some follow up is needed – a resident needs a new physician or could benefit from home delivered meals – she will contact Elizabeth Reiss, Coleman’s Resident Service Coordinator. If a resident has reported a recent fall, Leslie will ask for her permission to notify Francine Godfrey, JCHE’s Director of Fitness, that perhaps balance exercises are needed. This partnership of the medical, support services and fitness perspectives creates a strong and responsive safety net for those who live at JCHE.

A lot of territory has been covered in just 10 minutes. Residents leave Leslie’s office with more bounce in their step. They’ve been heard and respected and encouraged. It may only require a few minutes but the gains from that boost have staying power.

 

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