District nurses work closely with GPs and can make regular visits to patients and their families at home. They provide help, advice and support with the practical aspects of nursing care. This includes things such as dressing wounds, injections, taking stitches out, and helping with managing stomas, catheters or feeding tubes.
Not everyone will need this type of help. If you’re fit enough to attend your GP surgery to see a practice nurse, for example to have stitches taken out, you won’t need a district nurse visit.
District nurses can also arrange for special equipment to be delivered, such as a:
- special mattress
- hoist or sling
- hospital bed.
They can assess your care needs when you’re at home and refer you for help from other healthcare professionals, if it’s needed. In some areas, district nurses can visit in the evening and at night.
If you need district nursing support, your ward nurse or keyworker will contact your local district nursing service before you go home to arrange a home visit. The first home visit you have will often be from a district nursing manager, who has overall responsibility for the nursing help you are given. They will talk to you about the care that will be provided. They may also talk to your hospital nurse or keyworker so that they understand more about your needs. After that, the district nurse will usually organise for other nurses called community nurses, who work in the district nurse team, to make regular visits. You will usually see the same one or two nurses each time.