Home visits: research nurse turns up the heat

By Heather Glover, Paediatric Research Nurse at ResearchNurses.co

6th July 2012

Abstract Heat & Home Visit ArticlesPatient recruitment and retention is often a challenge for paediatric studies, which has no doubt contributed to the lack of pharmaceutical development for children’s medicines. To compensate many paediatric studies are now designed with this in mind, by shifting the emphasis from hospital to community based care. The feedback from children and parents involved in current studies confirms that conducting research in their own home is far easier and better for both the child and family. It gives the child a greater sense of security, eliminates the cost and time of hospital journeys so reduces absences from school.

Consequently, a professional nurse attending a child’s home can be seen as part of the solution, working with the parent to minimize the discomfort for all involved.  I say minimize because drawing blood from a young man with deep veins –who has endured years of injections in relation to his Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy- was never going to be painless, or so I thought!

So followed a discussion with Mum and child as to how the vein in question could be made more accessible and thus reduce the discomfort at the next visit. In the gloom that is known as summer Mum turned the heating on, her son donned a jumper and kindly applied a hot water bottle to his arm prior to my next visit. The result was better than expected for everyone, I completed the blood draw and the child hardly noticed – which was a significant shift from the norm. I left earlier than normal with a happy smile on my face and had time for a coffee at the station. In addition Mum had helped dramatically reduce her son’s discomfort, who in turn would trust in his homecare nurse far more.

Warming up a child’s arm to assist a blood draw is nothing new for a paediatric nurse, within this setting though the repercussions made a huge impact on the life of a child in relation to their participation in a clinical study. Where the basis for such research is the development of much needed paediatric medicines in this and many other fields of medicine.

So where children are concerned, a professional research nurse operating in the patients home, can be the most effective method of retaining a patient’s compliance, especially in the ever more complex design of clinical studies.

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