What should I expect during a visit from the program nurse?
A visit from your program nurse can include the following:
An assessment includes a review of your prenatal sheet, medical history and lab results as well as a review of events and concerns relating to your diagnosed condition. It also includes a physical assessment of vital signs, fetal heart rate, edema (swelling causes by an abnormal accumulation of watery fluid in body tissues), reflexes and observation for condition-specific symptoms.
2. Condition specific teaching
The nurse will review the causes of your condition with you and, where applicable, your family. The nurse will also advise and discuss signs and symptoms related to worsening condition and tell you how and when to contact an attending physician or go to a triage unit.
3. Prenatal Education
The nurse will conduct an assessment of your prenatal educational needs based on your previous experience and attendance at prenatal classes. The nurse will also provide education to you and your family as requested using a variety of teaching strategies, including video and print resources.
4. Nutritional assessment/education
The nurse will provide teaching related to your diet and exercise needs (as indicated based on nutritional status or diabetes) and/or reinforce the instruction you’ve received from other health professionals.
5. Emotional Support
The nurse will discuss any adjustments necessary for you to better cope with your condition. This will include a discussion about changes in lifestyle for you and your family along with self monitoring routines.
The nurse will provide you with resources to increase your knowledge and reduce the stress relating to your condition.
The nurse will also assess and provide support regarding your home situation. Some issues considered include: the safety of your home, e.g. stairs, access to telephone and care of other children; your financial situation; and transportation to and from appointments.
6. Coordination of Services
The nurse will coordinate weekly lab work and Fetal Assessment Unit (FAU) appointments. Where necessary, the nurse will make referrals to community resources and programs, i.e. homemaker, community area public health nurse, and social work.
What is expected from me as a patient on the AHCP?
- Dependent on your condition you will be asked to monitor specific areas of your physical status. For example, if you have high blood pressure you will be asked to monitor your blood pressure with a machine provided by the program. You will be instructed to watch for any signs of high blood pressure, and monitor your baby’s movements every day. A chart will be given to you to keep track of these signs and your rest hours. If you have PPROM you will be asked to monitor your temperature and pulse as well. If you have Diabetes, you must monitor your blood sugars.
- Rest is important during your pregnancy. Do not feel guilty about resting. Aim for three rest periods per day.
- You will be asked to modify your activity level so that you can rest and control the symptoms of your particular condition. Quiet activities around the house are suggested. Bus transportation and driving yourself to appointments are not advised.
- It is necessary that you not be working while you participating in the program.
- You must be available to the nurse for daily home visits or telephone assessment.
- Once you are home after delivery, you can resume blood pressure monitoring and can expect a call from a program nurse within a day or arriving home.