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I have just moved into a new home! All our possessions, which were in storage for the past 5 years, have been unpacked. As I write, there is a collection of family photos, paintings, and family treasures on the dining room table, waiting for me to determine the best way to display them. As I look and hold each object, I recall its history: "Oh, remember this? It was a wedding present. ... And look at how adorable and small the kids look in this picture! ... Isn't it amazing that we inherited this old clock from my great-grandparents?" Reflecting on the history of each object not only provides me with great pleasure, it reminds me of who I am, where I have been, and-in a sense-it grounds me and gives me direction as I live into the future.


This issue of Home Healthcare Nurse allows us to reminisce and consider how the past shapes us. Given the dominance of women in home healthcare, a more suitable term, borrowed from feminists, may be appropriate: It is the herstory of home healthcare that this issue begins to explore. In case you think reading articles about the herstory of home healthcare is an optional activity that fails to provide clinical wisdom, think again.


Understanding the herstory of home healthcare will improve the judgment of clinicians because knowing how or why things happened in the past can inform how and why things will happen in the future. Indeed, herstory gives us instructive examples and makes us better thinkers. Appreciating home healthcare's herstory builds community among its clinicians; it allows us to re-member. Our herstory supports our identity, defines who we are, and gives us solidarity. Ultimately, knowing our lengthy and considerable herstory shows us what it means to be a home healthcare clinician. Such thinking about the import of history can be found in many history texts (Wineberg, 2001).


This issue contains three articles that allow us to re-member and consider our lengthy and considerable herstory. A classic by the late Karen Buhler-Wilkerson, "No Place Like Home: A History of Nursing and Home Care in the U.S.," originally printed a decade ago, provides an historical overview of American homecare nursing. A reminiscence by Marilyn Harris, who has watched home healthcare nursing evolve over 3 decades, provides a fun read in the commentary. One piece from Canada allows us to consider how the traditions, perceptions, status, and nature form and influence home healthcare. This article, by Sonya Grypma and colleagues, is called "Returning Home: Historical Influences on Home Healthcare in Canada." Look for a future online only article from Australasia by Pamela Wood describing the development of home healthcare nursing in New Zealand.


In addition, this issue contains clinical information. Regina Phillips's article discusses "Nutrition and Depression in the Community-Based Oldest Old" and Gretchen Riker and Stephen M. Setter bring us information about "Polypharmacy in Older Adults at Home: What It Is and What to Do About It? Implications for Home Healthcare and Hospice" in part one of a two-part series. The VNAA column this month, by Margaret Terry, addresses instead the present and asks "Are We Ensuring That Our Clinicians Have the 'Right Skills' for the 21st Century?"


Certainly this reading, along with your own reflection, will enhance your sense of self as a home health clinician. May it also let you re-member yourself within the community of home healthcare professionals.




An IHCNO History and Update

A few words on the International Home Care Nurses Organization from a historical perspective.


The International Home Care Nurses Organization (IHCNO), started in 2009, is a grass roots organization that is working to develop and support a vibrant worldwide network of nurses who promote excellence in providing optimal health and well-being to patients living in their homes. A planning meeting was held July 20, 21, and 22nd. Leaders in home care from across the United States and the globe participated in the Planning Meeting for the 2013 IHCNO meeting. Thank you to all of you who came to Cleveland and participated! As you know from this working weekend, this is truly a bottom-up organization that seeks to meet the educational, clinical, peer, and resource needs of its home care nurse members. Special thanks go to the team at Case Western Reserve University Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing and especially Liz Madigan, Samira Hussney, and Dean Mary E. Kerr for their sponsorship and welcome of the IHCNO. Thank you for all of your organizational and other efforts!


Because of the world-wide response (and some countries that made me pull out the globe!) a conference call was held during the Planning Meeting for those who wished to participate but were unable to attend the meeting in person - and so their comments and recommendations will be incorporated into plans as we move forward with the final vision for the meeting next year. And we are getting sponsors who wish to support the work and efforts of the IHCNO! We invite you to hold the date and to join us at the IHCNO Inaugural Conference to be held June 25-28, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Case Western Reserve University School of Nurisng.


The IHCNO has been represented in varying parts of the world. Internationally, a poster about the IHCNO and the need for this organization has been to the International Council of Nurses Conference (Valetta, Malta, 2011) and the International Congress on Innovations in Nursing (Perth, Australia, 2011) and in the United States has been to the Transcultural Nursing Society Conference (Atlanta, 2011), the Visiting Nurse Associations of America Conference (Phoenix, 2012), and the International Nurse Education Conference (Baltimore, 2012).


Thank you for all who participated. Keep in touch and for those who wish to sign up and become involved, kindly visit the IHCNO web site at and sign up. In Box 1 below are the links to the past editorials about the IHCNO organized from the most recent to the oldest news.

Box 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowBox 1. Past Editorials About the IHCNO



Tina Marrelli and Mary Nayaran




Elizabeth Johnston Taylor




Wineberg, S. S. (2001). Historical thinking and other unnatural acts: Charting the future of teaching the past. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.