They care for you, educate you, and empower you. They’re often the glue that holds your care team together. In honor of National Nurses Week, we’re saying a huge thank-you to all the extraordinary nurses out there. We’re proud to spotlight one of them.
If you or your loved one receives care with HopeHealth Visiting Nurse through one of our cardiac specialty programs, you already know Trish Diorio, RN, BSN. As a cardiac nurse specialist, she helps lead care for patients who are recovering from open-heart surgery or have been diagnosed with heart failure.
She shares her path to home health care, and how HopeHealth’s cardiac programs make a difference for patients and families.
How did you get started in nursing?
My first career was actually in public relations. I did that for a number of years, but I never felt any gratification in it. I realized I wanted to do something where my time was spent helping people. I chose nursing as a second career, and ended up loving it.
I started as an ER nurse, then worked in a cardiac catheterization lab. Those experiences taught me to be versatile, and how to be there for patients during tough times. That’s such an important part of any nursing job.
What’s a day in the life for you today, as a cardiac nurse for patients receiving home care?
I work with patients who have come through open-heart surgery or have received a diagnosis of heart failure. It can be a stressful, emotional time for these patients and their families. Their minds are a whirlwind when they first come home. They have to learn how to make important decisions regarding their health and disease management. I spend a lot of time on the phone with them, educating them about their condition and how to manage multiple health issues, and providing emotional support.
I’m also the point person for a lot of their care. Every day, I use telehealth to monitor patients’ vitals and health information. I talk with the clinicians who visit them at home and help coordinate their care: HopeHealth’s nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, palliative nurses, social workers and home health aides. Together, we create care plans, and talk about any changes or concerns. I work closely with doctors from the surgical team and heart failure clinic. We have such a great team, and we are all in collaboration.
“What I love about home care is you’re getting to see people in their personal space. The most vulnerable, trusting thing a person can do is let you into their home. It’s a gift to have that trust.” – Trish Diorio, RN, BSN, cardiac nurse specialist
It’s a big change from the ER to home care. What do you think about home health nursing?
It is a big change, but I’m thankful for it.
What I love about home care is that you’re getting to see people in their personal space. The most vulnerable, trusting thing a person can do is let you into their home. It’s a gift to have that trust.
You also have this chance to identify why a patient might be struggling, and help them tackle it. Every patient has a reason why they struggle. It might be access to food or medication. It might be their home environment. It’s unique to each individual. When you’re providing care in a patient’s home, you can pay attention to that. We can show them how to get their heart health under control, and at the same time, make sure they’re safe in other ways. We give them resources that they can use for the rest of their life.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a cardiac nurse?
The education we provide to patients and their families.
It’s so important for anybody with this type of diagnosis to have knowledge about their condition. Our cardiac patients, and their families, are thankful to learn that they have some control over their disease. It’s empowering.
For example, many patients diagnosed with heart failure didn’t know that what they were eating was actually leading to their heart issues and rehospitalization. They didn’t realize that they could have a better quality of life if they made some changes. We have the opportunity, and the gift, to explain it to them thoroughly.
What’s something you’re especially proud of?
In the U.S., on average, nearly 25% of heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. For patients in HopeHealth’s program, the readmission rate for last quarter was 0.
You see that number, and you know that the program is successful. You know you’re helping patients, and sometimes saving their life. You know that you’re part of a team that’s making a difference.
That’s the whole reason you go into nursing: to make a difference.