In-Home Aftercare

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I was clueless and overwhelmed, first with the heart-attack and then with open-heart surgery. My head was spinning. I never felt so useless. Mom spent two weeks at the nursing home to recover before she was finally released to come home.

I was impressed with the caseworker at the nursing home as she was on top of getting mom situated before being released. The caseworker ordered a hospital bed, a walker lined up nurses to do in-home check-ups for mom every other day.

Mom didn’t want the bed. I should’ve gotten the bed. That was a big mistake on my part. However, the Chinese in me kicked in and I became that obedient daughter. The voice said, “respect your mother’s wishes”. I should’ve told that voice to shut up!

It really was a big mistake not to have a medical bed at home. Mom would have rested better, but she insisted on sleeping in her own bed. My advice to you, do what the caseworker is suggesting. Got it?

In-Home Nurse qualifications

In-home nurses are qualified to administer the following:

  • medications, injections and provide medical treatment
  • administer care related to health conditions including
    • diabetes
    • tracheotomy
    • respiratory
    • colostomy
    • dressing injuries and so on
  • mostly work in assisting those who are
    • elderly
    • chronically ill
    • disabled
    • cognitively impaired by performing the necessary medical therapies in the home of their clients.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

If you’ve never dealt with an in-home nurse before (I hadn’t either), here are some observations I made based on my own experience:


  • They came well equipped as far as mom’s Physical Therapy was concerned
  • I did give me peace of mind that someone was coming to see mom at least 2-3 times a week
  • They were all friendly and patient with mom who spoke very little English
  • They were organized and timely
  • They always confirmed their appointments and were reliable


  • They aren’t exactly looking out for your mom/dad’s BEST interest
  • They are doing the bare minimum (blood pressure, minimal exercise, scripted questions, fill in the chart)
  • They didn’t take the swelling of mom’s legs seriously
  • They didn’t give me direct answers, only said things to pacify me
  • They only seemed to care that I signed the paperwork after each visit

Our awareness is the key. It is our awareness more than our work effort that gets the right result right now. 

Mark Victor Hansen

My personal tips:

  • First and foremost, check for bed sores before leaving the nursing home. If there are symptoms, contact the doctor immediately for treatment. These caused mom so much pain.
  • QUESTION EVERYTHING! We need to be their best advocate. Don’t make the same mistake I did here.
  • Contact the doctor/surgeon/specialist if you have any doubts and concerns.
  • Reread all the warning signs given to you by the exiting nurse from the hospital.
  • Be attuned to what your mom/dad is TRULY feeling (mom was in more pain than I was willing to admit. I convinced myself that she was getting better when she wasn’t. Maybe I just hoped she was because the thought of sending her back to the hospital seemed daunting).
  • Go with your gut. If you think something is wrong, mostly there is.
  • Just because all the “numbers” are right, doesn’t mean that nothing is wrong. There was plenty wrong even though mom’s blood pressure and heart rate seemed within normal limits. I tested her every day and charted it. All looked good on paper.

After a few follow-ups with the cardiologist and surgeon, they realized they couldn’t manage her recovery. They had to resubmit her into the ER as her blood pressure was high and the swelling in her legs was worse.

Mom needed to be on a Lasix drip to quickly drain her body from the built-up fluids. If the fluid can’t drain, then it finds its way to the brain. Mind you, we had a nurse coming every other day to help her with her rehabilitation at home. Furthermore, I had one nurse who also had open-heart surgery. Can you believe that? Why she wasn’t concerned with mom’s still very swollen legs is beyond me!

I saw how miserable mom was. I figured if the nurses aren’t concerned about anything, why should I be?  Just as I did here, I relied heavily on the people who I thought were the “experts”. Can I just tell you how many times I did that and it never ended well? Ya think I would’ve learned my lesson the first time. I know better than to assume anyone is doing their job the way they should be.

I should’ve gone with my gut and taken her back to the hospital. Always follow your intuition!!!  In retrospect, I should’ve known better myself. I had read all about the signs and knew what to look out for.

None of it registered. I was overwhelmed. I take full responsibility for my part in leaving it all up to the nurses. My husband was scheduled for by-pass just a few days after mom’s open-heart surgery and my daughter started to experience daily panic attacks, triggered by all of the above. No excuses, I just didn’t have my head on straight.

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