Sickle Cell Home Care Management
Patients suffering from sickle cell anemia have a serious condition in which the red blood cells can become sickle-shaped (that is, shaped like a C) and have difficulty traveling through the blood to bring oxygen to different parts of the body.
Clumps of sickle cells can block blood flow in the blood vessels that lead to the limbs and organs. Blocked blood vessels can cause pain, serious infections and organ damage, requiring frequent emergency room visits.
Sentara's sickle cell home-based management program can help patients manage their disease and maximize their quality of life. Patients enrolled in the program rarely visit local hospitals, while, in their past, many were visiting the ER and hospital several times a month.
The program provides patient education on disease treatment and predisposing factors leading to sickling events. It also links patients to community resources.
Sentara Home Care nurses act as case managers who touch base regularly with patients to assure they are keeping doctor appointments and taking medications while answering patients' concerns. These nurses are available via beeper to initiate therapy rapidly when a patient starts to go into a sickle cell crisis.
Sentara Home Care Services can administer multiple infusion therapies during crises that include pain management, hydration, blood transfusion, chelation, antiemetics and antibiotics. The key to making the patients more comfortable and productive is the cooperation and coordination between the home care staff, the physician and the patient.