May 6th-12th marked National Nursing Recognition week. To honor these events, Pomegranate Health Systems (PHS) celebrated with a reception Friday afternoon. According to Director of Nursing, Kris Brown, RN-BC, MS, “We celebrated our hard work with chocolate dipped strawberries, gourmet cake bites, sandwich wraps, and soft drinks.” The American Nurses Association (ANA) says, “National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.”
Pomegranate provides 24/7 nursing services for its residents. Nursing services includes a physical assessment and medication management. “Our nurses are an integral part of the multidisciplinary treatment team”, states Kris. “Our nurses have to be astute in assessing for any medical issues as well as the mental status of our residents. History taking, direct observation, and monitoring of lab results are just a few of the tools we use.” Angela Nickell, CEO adds, “This is a strong benefit to what we provide; we find our nursing team to be an essential component of Pomegranate.”
The publication, Psychotropic Medication and Children in Foster Care: Tips for Advocates and Judges (JoAnne Solchany PhD, ARNP of the ABA Center on Children and the Law) outlines 3 common types of symptoms of mental health disturbances in children. The categories include behavioral, affective/emotional, and bio-behavioral. Behavioral symptoms include excessive crying, aggression, self-abuse, destruction of property, defiance, inability to manage behavior in a classroom, suicidal attempts, and severe tantrums. Affective/emotional symptoms include profound sadness, lack of eye contact, no or few expressions of joy, lethargy, and suicidal ideation. Bio-behavioral symptoms include poor sleep, appetite changes, and regressive behaviors such as incontinence, distractibility, low motivation, and social isolation. For more information go to:
“With the advent of the new classes of pharmaceuticals for the management of mental and behavioral illness, it’s important to be on top of a teen’s response and adjust dosages so treatment can be accomplished with the minimum amount of medication to help a teen respond better to therapy,” states Dr. Sathappan, Medical Director of PHS. “Our medical, nursing and therapeutic treatment team monitor each patient daily.’ For instance, antidepressant medications help with symptoms of depression and withdrawn behavior. Antipsychotic medications treat thought disorders symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Antianxiety medications help control feelings of dread, excessive worry, racing thoughts, irritability, poor concentration, and panic. ADHD medications help a teen with severe inability to focus, aggression, and following redirection. Mood stabilizers are for the rapid mood shifts of bipolar disorders- per the Psychotropic Medication publication. “Each team member brings a special perspective through his or her interaction with the teen; nurses are like the quarterback,” explains Kris.
“Our goal is NOT more medication, but the least possible in the lowest possible dose. We want to help teens with symptoms so they are more capable of engaging therapy for the underlying issues that brought them to us in the first place”, adds Dr Sathappan. “Sometimes we see kids with a history of disrupted placements, several different doctors, and many types of medications layered upon one another. In the interest of the child, it is important to adjust medications methodically to find the right solution for each individual. Our multi-disciplinary team bases decisions on the latest evidence with the best short and long term outcomes”, says Dr. Sathappan. ‘And then, there’s the caring heart which is at the center of nursing, in taking care of every child,’ concludes Kris. ‘We offer a wholistic approach at Pomegranate.’