Hand-sanitizer-teamFor Eileen Agiya, RN, BSN, and Veleta Boswell, RN, MSN, NP, CRNI, sometimessaving lives is as simple as a bottle of hand sanitizer or a thermometer.

As HomeInfusion nurses for PennHome Care and Hospice Services, they know that preventing infectionand monitoring body temperature is imperative when delivering care duringregular house visits to patients.

The duo help cover patient care in the five countyPhiladelphia area and much of South Jersey. They also visit HUP and thePerelman Center for Advanced Medicine to prepare patients waiting for atransplant, for chemotherapy or other types of infusions,  before being discharged.

Most of their infusion patients, though, are at home orin a residential care facility in the community. For example, after a coloncancer patient is discharged from Penn to go home, a Home Infusion nurse willfollow that patient for lab draws, hydration if the patient needs it,antibiotics to fight infection, and more. “We see these patients when they comeback home from the hospital,” said Agiya. “Families are anxious. We’re walkingin as soon as they are walking in.”

Thanks to a Penn Medicine CAREs grant, Penn Home Infusioncan now supply many of its patients with sanitizer and thermometers. “We tellthem, wash your hands, but on top of that, every time you touch the PICC [peripherally inserted central catheter] line, youneed to use hand sanitizer.”

Knowing a patient’s temperature is especially importantfor patients on IV total parenteral nutrition. The nurses may draw bloodcultures at a body temperature greater than 100.4 F, but some patients areunable to afford a thermometer and also may not have running water in theirresidence, making this grant even more important.

This supply of sanitizer and thermometers may alsoprevent 30-day readmissions. “It’s not just home infusion. If we can keep themout of the hospital, we’re fulfilling our role in the continuum of care,” saidBoswell.

“We love our jobs, it’s so rewarding,” said Agiya. “Thinkof how many lives this grant is going to save.”