1. Anthony, Maureen PhD, RN

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Season's greetings to all Home Healthcare Now readers! It's the time of year when we look back at our accomplishments of the past year, and look hopefully to the New Year as we make resolutions and goals, and plans to reach them. Our number one goal here at Home Healthcare Now is to continue bringing you the kind of articles you ask for. We know you want to keep abreast of the rapidly changing world of home care, and to that end we strive to bring you practical, clinical articles that inform your practice and keep you up-to-date on the latest. Make it your New Year's resolution to complete the regular CE offerings next year!

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I write this editorial from London where I am attending an editors' meeting. Our keynote speaker today was the director of the Florence Nightingale Museum. We learned a lot about the "Lady with the Lamp." Florence was an upper-class young woman and deeply religious. She heard a call to become a nurse-a shocking revelation to her family. Nurses at the time were not considered of high character, and certainly were not thought of in any way as "professional." People of any means at all, would not have dreamed of going to a hospital-a place where the poor went to die. Those who weren't desperately poor were cared for in the comfort of their homes, and the doctor came to them. So the concept of a professional, educated nurse was foreign to English society. With her parent's reluctant assent, she traveled to hospitals throughout Europe to learn more about caring for the sick. When the Crimean War broke out, Florence finally got her way and assembled a group of women (many of whom were Catholic nuns with experience caring for the sick) to care for the wounded and sick English soldiers in Scutari. News of the Lady with the Lamp soon spread, making her the most famous and beloved woman in England (after Queen Victoria of course). She was highly revered, drawing crowds everywhere she went. Unfortunately, due to illness, she became quite reclusive after the war. Most historians agree she likely suffered from brucellosis, (also known as Crimean Fever) as a result of ingesting infected meat or milk. Despite her infirm condition, she worked relentlessly until her death to change society, to start a school of nursing (St. Thomas), to write her famous Notes on Nursing, and to elevate the nursing profession to an admirable status. She rarely left her bedroom, yet was a consummate agent of change. We can all learn a great deal from the Lady with the Lamp.


Some highlights of this issue-Our CE feature article this issue is about using the Beers Criteria as a guide to medication reconciliation for older adults by Flanagan and Beizer. It is important to keep in mind that the Beers Criteria offer guidance, not mandates. Each patient's situation is unique. It is an excellent starting place though, when evaluating and reconciling medications for older patients. Author Leslie Mitchell wrote a literature review about characteristics of a successful home care nurse and suggests questions with which to screen prospective home care nurses. Although the article is written specifically about nurses, it is applicable to all home care clinicians. For those of you who care for postpartum patients in their homes, author Dr. Leslie Schoenberg wrote an article that describes the development and implementation of an innovative evidence-translation project designed to improve birth control education provided by home healthcare nurses. Dr. Ruby Gabbedon describes a home healthcare competency tool kit to enhance competencies for home care nurses. Again, although the article is written specifically for home care nurses, the concepts are applicable to all home care clinicians. Finally, author Sonya Kowalski conducted a literature review of the benefits of physical therapy and exercise interventions for hospice patients. And don't forget our regular columns-Focus on Geriatrics, ISMP Medication Errors, Infection Prevention, Consult PRN, A Day in the Life of..., Commentary, and VNAA's Voice. Enjoy!

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