When UT Health employee Charisse Montgomery found out her family was eligible for in-home nursing, she rejoiced knowing that she could get some much-needed extra help.Like many other parents of medically fragile children, she considered the nursing assistance a lifeline for her busy family.
But with the help came a new set of responsibilities. In Ohio, nurses can be managed by an outside agency or by the parents. When Montgomery took on the responsibility, she didn’t expect the in-home nurses to be late or just not show up. She didn’t know how to handle the situation when their care didn’t meet her standards.
As she realized that the nurses were her employees to motivate and manage, she put together a series of tips that she turned into a book, Home Care CEO: A Parent’s Guide to Managing In-Home Pediatric Nursing. The book will be out Wednesday, June 17.
“When you open your home to nursing care, you are becoming an employer in a sense. You are managing the staff,” said Montgomery, who is the scientific editor and college communicator for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “This book prepares parents for the new role they have to take. Parents need to ultimately set the direction for the care of their children. Parents have to be prepared to take appropriate control of their child’s care, and nurses can be great partners when they have the right tools. As the CEO, parents are the ones guiding the ship.”
Montgomery and her husband, Richard, are parents to 3-year-old Richie, who has congenital fiber-type disproportion myopathy. The rare genetic condition results in severe weakness of all the muscles in his body.
“The point of the book is to help parents manage a staff, since management training isn’t something that everyone receives,” she said. “This is an extra job. You have to develop new skills to make sure your child receives excellent care.”
Montgomery said this book will help parents find the right nurses, ask the right questions during the interview process, and learn how to manage the nurses when it isn’t going well.
“Not every nurse will be a good fit for your home,” Montgomery said. “Nurses need to have a clear set of boundaries and expectations for care in the home setting.”
The 66-page book is available through Amazon for $12.99 (paperback) and $9.99 (Kindle). It is published through the Montgomery family’s Black & Blue Publishing Co.
“The book is short and has personal stories related to our experiences with in-home nursing,” Montgomery said. “It keeps in mind that parents of medically complex kids don’t have a lot of time. Home Care CEO gets into the heavy topics very quickly and is a concise guide to what parents need to know.”