When we choose a general health care physician, we also choose the community nurse and midwife. However, many of us have no idea when and in what situations to seek their assistance.

She gives injections, changes dressings, shows how to take care of an infant – in the time of need, a community nurse or midwife will come to the patient’s home.

The selection of a community nurse and midwife is governed by the same rules as those for the selection of a general health care physician – the patient fills in a declaration of choice; the same procedure applies when we want to resign from the care.

When do we need the assistance of a community nurse or midwife

A community nurse assists in the therapy conducted by a physician. She gives injections, changes dressings, helps in basic rehabilitation exercises, conducts basic treatment procedures (e.g. in stomas, fistulas, and long-healing wounds). She also assesses the progress of the patient’s health on an ongoing basis.

In turn, a community midwife takes care of a woman from the 26th week of pregnancy, instructing her and preparing for the labour. She also takes care of female patients after childbirth, which includes the care of newborns and infants up to two months old. A midwife will visit a young mother at home once she leaves hospital with her newborn. She will show how to properly care for an infant and check if the child has adequate conditions to develop.

Responsibilities of the nurse

A community nurse must complete a qualification course in family nursing, community nursing, combined community and family nursing, and also in nursing patients with chronic diseases and disabilities, long-term care, and conservative nursing.

A single nurse cannot simultaneously care for more than eight patients. The number of patients depends on their condition.

When a community nurse notices that the patient is undergoing changes which could be an evidence of the intensification of the disease or appearance of complications, she must immediately notify the general health care physician of the patient, and if need be, call an ambulance.

How to seek assistance from a nurse

The care of a community nurse or midwife can be arranged by appointment. This can be done Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. Outside of these hours and on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, care is provided to the extent ensuring the continuation of necessary medical procedures; it must be justified by the patient’s health condition.

A patient can apply for community nursing in person or be referred e.g. by a physician, nurse, family, legal guardians or institution.

A nurse should visit the patient within 72 hours of receiving an application.

Community nurse or long-term care?

However, if a patient is bedridden and does not require hospitalisation but systematic nursing care, such a patient may be qualified for long-term nursing care.

This form of assistance is for patients who require over two weeks of assistance with services such as drip feed, nursing and therapeutic treatments in stomas, fistulas, bedsores, shank ulceration, wounds hard to heal, feeding through a probe and fistula, pumping of the urinary bladder, nursing associated with the tracheotomy tube, putting on and taking off a catheter.

To obtain such care, the patient will need the assistance of a community nurse and a doctor’s referral.

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