How my visits differ from home nurse visits
It’s not unusual for some of the smallest and sickest preemies to qualify for home nursing visits. These visits are usually 20-30 min long, occur within the first few weeks after discharge, and are covered by insurance. In most cases, larger preterm infants and full-term infants do not qualify for these types of visit. My home visits are different than RN visits for all of the following reasons:
1. I am available to visit all newborns, including preemies, late preemies, and full-term babies who were never in the NICU.
2. I am a pediatrician with years of special training and experience taking care of newborns, both in the hospital and outpatient office setting. This means that I am able to diagnose and immediately treat problems that come up during my visit(s). For example, if I diagnose a baby with thrush during my visit, I can call in a prescription for Nystatin. Or, if we detect that a tongue tie is interfering with a newborn’s breastfeeding, I can clip it during my home visit. I can also check newborns’ jaundice levels at home, and if levels are too high, I can make an immediate plan for treatment of jaundice with my patient’s family.
3. My visits are longer (60+ min) and more detailed and individualized than home nurse visits. We can focus on whatever your greatest needs are, i.e. colic or feeding intolerance and/or needing to introduce formula supplementation. I do not have to follow a strict insurance-dictated checklist for my visits.
4. The parents I work with have unlimited follow-up with me by phone, text, and/or email for the 4-6 weeks after I visit. So, when parents call me that know that I know exactly what is going on with their baby and they do not have to worry about talking to an on-call RN or MD who they have never met.
5. I will soon have the ability to use telemedicine for virtual visits for minor concerns. For example, if it’s a Sunday evening and a new mom is concerned about her baby’s rash we can talk about it, I will be able to see the rash through a video call, and then we can make a plan for how to proceed with treatment, timing of follow-up, etc. Parents will be able to have peace of mind and not be stuck worrying and waiting until they can be seen by their pediatrician during the upcoming week.
6. I am able to provide evidence-based guidance, counseling, and recommendations in regards to new therapies for babies, i.e. probiotics.
7. As a board-certified pediatrician I am able to check older siblings for minor illnesses during my visits, i.e. if one of my families was to have a 3-year-old with an ear ache while I am visiting, I will be happy to use my otoscope to check his/her ear for an ear infection while I am there.
I hope that, through these examples, that I have been able to paint a picture of how I can help families who have new babies and demonstrate that I provide home newborn and pediatric services that do not currently exist in NE Ohio. Thank you for reading!