The "Tuck In"
The "tuck in" can have at least a couple of meanings. To the daytime nurse, it often refers to having one's patients "tucked in" for the weekend or holiday. That is, the nurse has seen to it that his/her patients have no outstanding "business" to attend to and have adequate supplies and medication to last over this time period. Having one's patients properly tucked in for the weekend helps to eliminate many headaches and nagging phone calls for the Saturday, Sunday and holiday on-call staff.
For an after hours nurse, such as myself, the tuck in visit has a different meaning. I "tuck in" all new inpatient admits and, on occasion, new "at home" patients that may require a little extra attention.
Here are some of the basic components of an after-hours tuck in visit:
- Assessing the patient's current condition/situation (physical, emotional, environmental, caregiver support, etc.) and determining future needs or potential trouble spots.
- Instructing caregivers on the purpose, dosage and administration of hospice-provided medications.
- Instructing caregivers on the disease/dying process... helping them to know what to expect.
- Starting morphine or Dilaudid drips.
- For inpatients: Checking MD orders, informing staff of patient-specific needs and making sure that medications are on the unit.
This initial exchange between nurse and caregiver can, for good or bad, set the tone for the future.