The VA New York / New Jersey Veterans Health Network Telephone Care Program is a network-wide initiative developed by the Nursing Service with the goal of improving access to care for veterans served in New York / New Jersey area. Veterans should call their clinics during the administrative work week which is Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, excluding statutory holidays. After 4:30 p.m. and on weekends and federal holidays, veterans, their families and loved ones can contact an experienced and knowledgeable registered professional nurse by calling 1-800-877-6976. Registered nurses answer health questions.
This program was chosen nationally – as one of the top ten (it was fourth) – as an innovative nursing practice by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was suggested that this program be the benchmark for consolidated telephone care programs in all medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VISN3 Triage / VA Nurses Helpline is a service available to all veterans in VISN 3. This includes VA Medical Centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Hudson Valley, of New Jersey, Northport and their associated satellite clinics. Local VA health care contacts are available for veterans outside this area.
All phone calls are answered by a team of licensed professional nurses who have experience in critical care, telephone assessment and crisis intervention. Triage nurses take advantage of many and varied resources to assist veterans and their families, such as computerized patient records, physicians, pharmacists, medical administrators, triage protocols, and computer / paper referrals. Our triage nurses provide medical and emotional support. They can help with a wide variety of issues and / or concerns which may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- symptom analysis
- first aid procedures
- stress / anxiety
- medication questions
- lab test results
- educating patients about specific disease entities, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- preparation for certain procedures
- check appointments
- support for caregivers
DO NOT CALL the VA Nurse Hotline in an emergency. If you or the affected person has chest pain, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, severe bleeding or injury, ingestion of poison, seizures, vision loss or any other life-threatening condition , CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.
Health care professionals can use telephone triage nurses to make follow-up calls to patients with acute problems. Examples include checking on a newly diagnosed diabetic who has recently started taking insulin or calling a patient waiting for lab test results before starting antibiotic therapy. This type of call can help reinforce teaching, ease patient anxiety, and maintain continuity of care. It will also serve to increase patient satisfaction.
In addition, follow-up calls are made to selected patients who undergo outpatient surgery on a Friday or before a holiday.
The Triage / VA Nursing Helpline staff are enthusiastic and caring nurses who are committed to helping the veteran patient, their family and loved ones. They provide quality service, improve access to comprehensive primary care and maintain continuity of care.
PHONE TRIAGE STEPS: When you call the VA nurse’s HELPLINE, we will need to ask you a few questions to determine what your needs are. Below are the questions and procedures you will encounter in a typical call:
1) Caller ID
â¢ Who are you and what are your last 4 digits of your social security number?
â¢ What VA medical center do you usually go to for medical care?
â¢ What is the reason you are calling the HELP LINE?
2) Examine the recordings on the computer
â¢ The nurse asks a series of questions and makes decisions
The nurse will advise you either
â¢ call 911
â¢ go to the emergency room
â¢ call for an appointment at the clinic
â¢ give you home care instructions and see your doctor at the next scheduled appointment
4) The phone call is documented in your medical file and all clinical calls are transferred to your provider.