Anticoagulation Therapy Monitoring
Oral anticoagulation treatments require close monitoring of blood clotting. If the Coumadin dose is too high, there is a risk of internal and external bleeding. An instant reading allows the nurse to relate the results to the physician and make medication adjustments during the same skilled visit. Patients who have diagnoses requiring Prothrombin Time Test and IN Ratio monitoring may have the test performed in the home by a nurse.
The Bladder Scan is a small portable ultrasound machine used to determine bladder function and urinary retention in certain cases. It is a painless, non-invasive procedure which prevents the patient from enduring a bladder catheterization which may be uncomfortable. The results of the scan are reported to the patient’s physician and further orders for treatment are obtained if needed.
The Doppler is a painless, non-invasive testing device used to assess for pulses in patients who may have circulation problems. It can be used to assess a blood pressure when a nurse cannot hear a blood pressure using a stethoscope. It can also be used to assess pulses in lower extremities for patients who have circulatory problems causing pain or preventing a lower extremity wound from healing (wounds require circulating oxygen to heal well). Abnormal results are reported to the physician when orders for treatment changes may be given or may warrant a visit to the physician.
Wound Vac Therapy
The Wound Vac is a type of wound healing procedure done in the patient’s home. A specialized wound dressing is applied and then attached to a vacuum tube which remains in place for several days. This removes excess fluids, increases blood flow necessary for wound healing, decreases bacterial growth preventing infection, and promotes new tissue growth. A nurse will change the dressing on an average of three times per week. Upon each dressing change, the nurse assesses the healing status of the wound and reports back to the physician. This process also improves the healing rate as compared to traditional types of wound care.
Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive method used to determine the patient’s blood oxygen level. By placing a probe on the patient’s fingertip the nurse or therapist is able to assess the patient’s cardio-pulmonary status and report back to the patient’s physician to determine if any changes are needed in treatment regime. Oftentimes a change in treatment can be facilitated at the patient’s home and may prevent a trip to the emergency room or hospitalization.