CME for Maintenance of Certification for Critical Care Medicine

While it is true that the quirky Aflac duck has brought awareness to consumers about supplemental insurance, many individuals are not clear what it is and if they need to have it. Supplemental insurance, put simply, is insurance that provides additional financial benefits to the policyholder that traditionally fall outside the realm of a typical health insurance policy. Aflac’s “specified health event protection” plan, also packaged by other companies as a “critical care” plan, is an insurance plan that pays the insured for benefits such as hospital and intensive care confinement; major organ transplantation; ambulance costs; waiver of premium benefits and transportation and lodging compensation as needed during the treatment of a critical illness. If the medical facility is within a certain mile radius of a policyholder’s home, often the insurance company will pay a small per mile fee to the policyholder for traveling expenses for extended treatment. Each company’s policy varies so it is important to ask questions and read the brochures thoroughly to see what benefits are actually covered in the plan you are considering.

Anyone that already has a health insurance policy will already have coverage for the medical expenses incurred from a debilitating accident or illness. But the health insurance policy, of course, does not include the various expenses associated with a patient’s long-term care. So, who needs a critical care policy? Let’s take a closer look to see if a critical care policy would be advantageous for you.

First of all, a critical care policy provides a layer of financial protection beyond the conventional health insurance policy much like a savings account protects an individual’s checking account balance. If an individual inadvertently overdraws the checking account, then the bank uses funds from his/her savings account to protect the consumer’s buying power. Likewise, when medical bills are mounting due to a serious medical condition, the insurance company releases funds directly to the consumer rather than to the hospital so that the insured is free to pay incoming medical bills or other expenses related to the medical condition. An insured could actually take the funds released to him/her from the supplemental insurance plan to help pay the mortgage or to buy meals at the hospital. In this way, the supplemental plan bridges the gap between a traditional health insurance policy and actual expenses occurred.

Secondly, unlike a conventional health insurance policy, an individual’s “critical care” policy is guaranteed renewable each year. Therefore, once diagnosed with a condition, such as end-stage renal failure, at policy renewal time, the insurance company guarantees to renew the individual’s policy in spite of the mounting medical bills.

To determine if a critical care insurance policy is right for you, take a personal inventory. Is there a history of chronic health problems, such as heart failure, stroke or cancer? (Please note that some policies do not include cancer as a covered peril. Aflac, for instance, sells a cancer policy separately that provides benefits that are specifically geared toward the medical procedures related to cancer treatment.) A history of chronic illness is a good indicator that critical care insurance may be an excellent option for you.

Next of all, consider your personal finances. Do you have the discipline to set aside money monthly to cover long-term medical care due to critical illness? And do you have an adequate income to prepare for such an event? Costs for a year of nursing home care can range from $50,000 and higher. A part-time aide can cost as much as $10,000 per year. That is a year’s salary for many individuals

The Ins and Outs of the Critical Care Nursing Field

Whenever the term critical care is mentioned – most people immediately think about severely sick patients in intensive care units or ICUs. They are not mistaken. Intensive Care Units and Critical Care specialized areas in the hospital that care for patients in need of intense and one on one attention. These are the areas where a critical care nurse Practices.

What is a Critical Care Nurse

A Critical Care Nurse or a CCN is a highly specialized nurse that has been trained to work in Intensive Care areas. They are nurses that care for patients who are severely ill and in need of individualized care. A CCN cares for patients of all diagnoses and gender. Patients may vary depending on this category. Critical care nurses also deal with complex technology that helps sustain patients.

The History

This type of nursing is a relatively new nursing specialty. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the very first Intensive Care Units appeared in the Western world. These units were created to deal with gravely ill patients. They were considered to need a more intensive form of care compared to the patients in the regular wards. The notion of an intensive care unit quickly spread. Today, most hospitals are required to have these specialized areas and in turn specialized nurses and physicians to run them.

Back then, nurses assigned in CCUs and ICUs were not seen as different from regular ward RNs. It was only a few years later that CCN was considered as a specialized nursing field.

Roles of a CCN

Like any other registered nurse, the roles of the critical care nurse are very complex. These nurses have to deal with severely ill patients. They also need to be familiar with complex technologies that are continually present in a critical care setting. The critical care nurse also has to know basic and advance life support. Such skills may be called upon at any point during his/her service.

The critical care nurse must also be skilled in the art of diagnosis. He/she must be able to diagnose and identify a patient’s immediate needs. This part of nursing is important as it may be the difference between life and death for a patient. Nonetheless, the nurse must remember that despite being skilled at diagnosis, one must not overstep her boundaries and perform roles reserved for a physician alone.

Aside from dealing with patients and their needs, the CCN also has to deal with the patient’s family. The CCN often works as a counselor that helps the family get through the crisis at hand. He/she may have to deal with questions and concerns from the patient’s immediate family and significant others.

Qualifications and Requirements

IN THE PHILIPPINES – Locally, any registered nurse can become a critical care nurse. It is only a matter of area assignment. Most of the time, nurses who are assigned in critical care units are those who have shown promise in their previous areas of exposure. They are also the ones who have worked in similar areas such as medical/surgical or pediatric units.