Home Assessments - Nurses and Referrals

Do you know of any programs that have used nursing students for home environmental assessment with the EPA assessment tool?  If so, were the families receiving home visits referred by hospital ERs, physician offices, school nurses?  

Any suggestions for how to get families interested in the home environmental assessments?

~Julie St.Clair

Yes, some of our programs have partnered to have nursing students (and also doctors in residency programs).  This helps to satisfy community health experience for many nursing programs.  This not only provides some clinical services to the residents during the home intervention, but also helps to carry the message about the importance of housing back into their clinical practice.

They do get referred by all of the sources you mentioned.  When they have had difficulty making a referral (due to interpretation of HIPPAA), they have found innovative ways to get around the issue...for instance, by referring an entire block in a neighborhood.  The outreach workers can then go door to door on that block and hopefully provide services to not only that family, but also to their neighbors.


To answer your second question about getting families engaged, two things have been key:

1.  The free "stuff".  Even items like mops and buckets and smoke detectors really help to get your foot in the door.

2. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful.  Neighbors tell each other about the program and this helps other residents to know that the program is really there to make a positive difference in their lives.  I've been out on a site visit with one of our public health nurses in Schenectady and heard a neighbor call to her "Hey Bucket Lady (she reports this is how she is known in the neighborhood because she delivers all of her goodies in a bucket).  Hey Bucket Lady?  When are you coming to visit us?".   That kind of presence in a community has to be built over time, but can lead to lasting impacts.