Home healthcare workers are responsible for treating and responding to all kinds of healthcare emergencies. Many providers work all by themselves, managing symptoms far away from the nearest hospital.
Brianna Guillory is all too familiar with the problems home care nurses face in the field. She’s spent the last ten years working as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), The Texas-based nurse says many nurses left hospital jobs during the pandemic to become home health aides, but some new recruits often lack the necessary training and experience to treat severe wounds inside the patient’s private residence if the patient slips or falls or is recovering from surgery.
Demand for home healthcare also increased dramatically during the COVID-19 as many clinics restricted or reduced their hours of operation.
“There’s too many patients, not enough hospital beds and so there are nurses that are leaving the hospital,” said Guillory.
She’s also seen a rise in the number of new nurses getting into the home health field right after graduation instead of working at a hospital.
Guillory said most home health nurses used to have one to two years of experience under their belts before working in the field but staffing agencies have started hiring new graduates right out of school.
“In-home health care we call it the wild wild west; it’s very different from being in a hospital,” said Guillory.
Home care patients tend to be older or suffer from mobility issues that can increase their risk of falls and injuries. It’s not uncommon for nurses to find wounds on their patients during home care visits.
But Guillory said some new nurses struggle to provide adequate care. And it’s not just serious, life-threatening wounds.
“We’re talking pressure sores, ulcers we’re seeing a lot of post-surgical wounds,” Guillory explained.
So, she decided to come up with a solution.
In the summer of 2021, Guillory launched her own business called “Divine Healthcare Consultants.” The company specializes in virtual wound counseling. She partnered with care pics to create an app that lets providers virtually consult with trained wound care specialists while on assignment, so they can make sure they have the right information.
“They’ll be able to use that to capture the wound image and send that to our certified wound specialist, and we’re able to come up with a treatment plan for that patient’s wound,” Guillory said.
Patients will also be able to take photos of the wound, so the provider can monitor the healing progress and decide whether the current treatment plan is working as expected.
“It also measures wounds, and if they need to schedule a virtual visit they can and that’s just if the wound is deteriorating if they need a little more one-on-one teaching,” Guillory added.
She said this technology could be used to reduce the number of home health patients seeking emergency health services. They can contact their provider and try a different treatment option instead of visiting the local emergency room when the wound fails to heal.
“If we have a patient that has a wound that’s at home and if we can stop that patient from going to the ER then at that point, we’re reducing the hospitalization rate,” she explained.
Guillory isn’t aware of any other companies offering this type of service. As a black woman, she’s proud to be one of the first to explore this front.
“You must be twice as hard, twice as ambitious just to be able to get there. Twice as resourceful just to show you’re capable of a seat at the table, but it’s just more motivation to keep pushing on.” Guillory said.
The company is even hiring virtual wound care specialists. Visit their website to learn more.