Boston Globe Article Features Nurse Practitioners Leading Innovative Practice Model
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Nurse practitioners make house calls their business
DEBEE TLUMACKI FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
Cofounders of Ideal Healthcare Solutions of Easton, Patricia Walker (left) and Priscilla Nwachukwu.
By Paul E. Kandarian Globe Correspondent December 21, 2014
Doctors may not make house calls anymore, but nurse practitioners can. That was the idea behind Ideal Healthcare Solutions in Easton, started by Patricia Walker and Priscilla Nwachukwu in March 2009. It has grown from three nurse practitioners to about 20. We talked with Walker for this story.
Q. Why did you start the business?
A. We worked in hospitals then, and saw a lot of patients returning and thought this would be a good way to work in the community to keep people at home rather than returning to the hospital. We work a lot with the geriatric population. They have the highest risk of hospitalization.
Q. What does the company do?
A. We provide house calls giving primary care to patients where they live, at home or in assisted living. Our goal is to take care of those who have difficulty getting to doctors, for financial, social, or mobility reasons. It’s really best to see them where they live. A lot of people, particularly the elderly, get nervous and frightened at hospitals; this is a lot easier on them.
Q. What makes yours an unusual business?
A. I don’t think anyone else in the area does it; in our search we didn’t find anything like it in Massachusetts. We are wholly managed and run by nurse practitioners. We’re able to prescribe medicine, manage treatment plans, and so forth. And we also provide both medical and psychiatric care; we work with a lot of elderly with dementia issues, and have a nurse practitioner to manage the psychiatric aspects of their needs.
Q. What’s your coverage area?
A. Roughly from Worcester east as far as Chatham, and to the borders of New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge of the work?
A. Not the patients — we’ve all worked with many patients. It’s the regulations; some create barriers. When ordering certain supplies, for example, we have to have a collaborating physician sign for it, so we have to pay for someone to sign paperwork. There is legislation and lobbying efforts underway to remove that provision.
Q. What’s rewarding about the work?
A. Learning from our patients. You spend a lot of time with them; their experiences teach you a lot, personally and professionally. You learn to appreciate life and the little things it offers.
Paul E. Kandarian’s e-mail is email@example.com.