Nurse practitioners play an integral role in the House Call team. They bring high-quality, in-home primary care services to chronically ill individuals who have difficulty leaving their homes. With the support of a House Calls nurse practitioner, those who struggle with serious illness can remain in their homes while receiving exceptional care right to their front door.
With graduate and/or doctoral-level education, as well as clinical training in family medicine, they are qualified to diagnosis and treat complex health conditions. For our House Calls patients and their families, nurse practitioners bring additional individualized care, knowledge and expertise that aligns with their individual goals and priorities.
We spoke with nurse practitioner Erin Reiniger about the role of a House Calls nurse practitioner and her experience providing care to our patients and their families.
Describe your background.
I received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from North Dakota State University. I worked in a clinic for eight years as a post-transplant coordinator. When I worked with transplant patients, I observed many patients had their nephrologist as their primary care doctor. This was one of my motivations going back to school and obtaining a Master of Science in nursing to be a certified family nurse practitioner. I attended Maryville University—Missouri for my degree and continued to work in the hospital setting until I graduated. I moved to the family medicine department in a walk-in clinic for two years before coming to House Calls. The walk-in clinic provided great experience helping a variety of patients.
Why are you passionate about primary care?
I value relationships. That’s what I liked about working in the transplant department, and I missed relationship building in my role at the walk-in clinic. I want to get to know my patients. It helps build trust and understanding, which is needed when you must have difficult conversations.
Many of my family members are nurses, including my mom, both grandmas, a great grandma and a few of my aunts. Their influence piqued my interest in health care and nursing. I really enjoy nursing; it’s so versatile.
What do you find unique about the House Calls model of care?
You get to spend the whole visit with the patient, and I enjoy that. When seeing patients in the clinic setting, they are seeing so many other health care staff and you don’t get as much time with them. My passion is relationships, and the home setting helps to build that relationship. I like being able to provide a sense of calmness in a comfortable setting for the person, their home. They don’t have to worry because I’m coming right to their front door to get them the support they need.
How does home-based primary care benefit patients and families?
So many people tell me how nice it is to have us come to them and they don’t have to go anywhere. I hear it from the family members, as well. One patient’s son goes to Arizona in the winter, and it’s giving him peace of mind knowing his mom doesn’t have to go out in the winter weather to get medical help.
We help people age in their homes by providing primary care services directly in their homes. They don’t have to worry about how they are going to get to and from the clinic for appointments, labs, X-rays and more. We also make visits for acute care, such as a cold, sore throat, etc. It alleviates a lot of stress for the patient and their caregivers when we travel directly to the wherever the patient calls home.
We also have an opportunity to assess the person’s everyday environment, and that can give us an accurate picture of what’s going on at home and how we can best support the individual. We can identify any issues that might be present, such as falling hazards, phone location and contact lists. Perhaps, helping them with something as simple as getting their medications organized in a pill box could make a significant difference in their daily life.
Describe the role of a nurse practitioner.
We really focus on looking at the person as a whole and streamlining their health care as much as possible. Nurse practitioners educate patients on their overall health, any health concerns, recommend screenings or testing depending on age, prescribe medication and so much more.
How do you see yourself making a difference with our patients?
Bringing the care directly to patients makes a difference. I think I’m good with people and hope that I can bring them a sense of peace as they make their health care decisions for the best long-term care.
How can House Calls help caregivers?
If the patient has a primary caregiver or power of attorney, we keep them up to date on visits and what is going on through follow-up phone calls. I think it gives them peace of mind that we are there for their loved one. They can also call us if they have questions.
Share about your family.
I have a husband and two stepchildren: Harper (11) and Tucker (13). We also have two dogs, Harley and Ivy.
What are your hobbies?
I like to quilt and read, and I go to quilt retreats from time to time. We also like to watch movies.
What brings you joy?
People fill my cup. I love people.
If you or your loved one lives with a chronic illness, House Calls may be able to help. House Calls brings primary care to your front door for individuals who have difficulty leaving their homes for routine medical appointments. Contact us today to learn more.