I have been using home health care for 3 years now. The nurse comes once a month for a catheter change and every couple of months they do a reassessment. I loved BSA Home Health care. About a year ago, they were bought out or merged that department with a local home health care Compassion. When new people take over, there are always changes.
I was accustomed to having the same nurse come to care for me. I never know which one will show up. I used to know when they were coming for a visit, and we set up the date and time of next months visit. Now, I know sort of when they will be planning on coming, and they usually call or text me the evening before and tell me when they are coming the next day.
I still have periodic trips to the Cancer center for port flushes, and periodic doctors visit. Even though I am home bound, I do still have things to schedule into my days. Also 8 months ago, I began a home call center customer service job which I work about 6 days a week. These hours I am committed to and I arrange my schedule ahead of time.
When I know about when home health care will be making a visit, I usually schedule my day off for the week or sign up for late hours. But the situation usually manages to push all of my negative buttons every month and affects my attitude. It is quite disconcerting and aggravating. I am usually a little out of sorts for about 2 days.
Not only is it a very intimate thing to have someone do a catheter change, it is stressful having someone different each time who doesn’t know my routine or my body. I find I have to repeat my instructions/requirements each time to someone who didn’t come the last month and was not informed. Stuff like, I am handicapped, and how to get into the house because I wont be answering the door; how we have to do the change with my help because of my mobility issues and bad hip and shoulder; making sure they text me to contact me because my job keeps my landline unavailable; instructions about which supplies etc. to bring each time.
Because I knew that they should/might be coming today, I scheduled my work time to begin late afternoon as they usually come in the mornings before I am out of bed to make the change. And so, I get the text last night and she is coming at 1pm! And so, once again my routine has been totally upturned and I had to drop 3 shifts of work to accommodate her visit.
I made an online email complaint to Compassion about 3 weeks ago expressing my concerns and frustrations about the uncertainly of the way they schedule things. I have no complaint about the nurses who come. My main complaint is in the scheduling and how they seem not to take into consideration my wishes or scheduling. After the email complaint, I got a call from a woman who said she would be my “New” case manager. She set up an appointment to come to my house for a meet and greet.
She did not show up for the appointment. I called the next week to ask when the next scheduled nurse visit was going to be. The receptionist looked on the schedule and said, “They just came out last week”. I said, “No, she didn’t show up”. She said, “Oh, well let me transfer you to your case manager”. I rolled my eyes since I knew that was who had stood me up last week.
She comes on the line and I ask when the next scheduled visit would be. The conversation goes back and forth for a while while she is trying to understand exactly what I want, and somewhere in the conversation managed a “Oh, my meeting ran long and I couldn’t make it last week. I guess I should have called.” My eyebrows about hit the ceiling. Pfffftttt. She schedules another visit and comes to see me and allows me to express my frustration with scheduling, repetitive instructions etc. and replies with pat pacifying dialogue of nurse shortages, people calling in sick etc. (I already have 6 nurses in my phone with pictures so I can keep track of them.) She was very kind, seemingly understanding, and expressed that I was important to them. I could tell she was practiced at saying what she felt would pacify and soothe without really saying anything, but she was nice. And so, after that visit in which I reiterated my wish for morning catheter changes before I am out of bed, we come to this week and my buttons were all pushed to the limit once again.
I don’t want to have to hunt for a new home health care agency. I’m not sure how. It was easy when it was set up from the hospital after a visit. and was working wonderfully before the merger and the change. Change is inevitable, but it can really be a big pain in the butt.