If you are ever convalescing at home and in need of professional nursing care, the Hyacinth Lightbourne Visiting Nursing Service could be the answer to your prayers.
Alethia Plummer, head of the service headquartered at 47 Lady Musgrave Road, says the 55-year-old service was established by the the Trained Nurses Association (now (NAJ) and friends of Dr Hyacinth Lightbourne in her honour following her tragic death along the Palisadoes Road. Dr Lightbourne was a community-oriented public-health doctor whose main concern was the care of patients after they left hospital and needed professional care at home.
Although scaled down significantly today, the service still offers many benefits to users. Its main objective is to bring professional nursing care to patients at home, regardless of their socio-economic status.
"You can call or visit for blood sugar checks; if you are recuperating at home, you can get a nurse to visit you to change dressings, catheters, insert tubes, give injections, do bed baths and give insulin," Plummer said.
But in spite of its valuable service, the nursing service has had to scale down operations and even close rural branches due to lack of funds. Plummer said offices in Mandeville and Montego Bay have closed and the placement of practical nurses has also stopped. They still operate in the corporate area.
Finance a nurse
"Right now, we would love to get persons who are able to finance a nurse for 24 months to do so," Plummer told The Gleaner during a recent interview. She noted that the subvention from the government is not enough to cover the costs of paying nurses, insurance, utilities and rental.
The Hyacinth Lightbourne Visiting Nursing Service used to be able to care for members from a pool of several nurses, but today there are only six of them working four hours in the mornings. Plummer says they have great need, chief among them the convalescent centre to be relocated downstairs the present facility, but aslo, "active, young service-minded people who are interested in helping others," Plummer said.
The service is important in cases where there are not enough hospital beds and as it facilitates earlier discharge of patients who can convalesce at home under skilled nursing care.
To become a member of the Hyacinth Lightbourne Visiting Nursing Service, membership fees are $1,500 per year for a family and lifetime membership costs $3,000.
To become a member, visit: 47 Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew, call: 927-9575/927-5796 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What the Nurses Do
1. Meet the nursing needs of patients in the community.
2. Carry out the doctor's instructions in the patient's home.
3. Effect an extension of the doctor's work in almost any illness.
4. Teach, help, supporting, and advise patients and their families.
5. Establish and maintain community relationships and coordinate appropriate services.