Albany Stratton VA Medical Center Albany, NY
VA Nurse Helpline
Veterans can call their main facility number during the administrative work week which is Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm excluding National Holidays. Veterans and their significant others can reach an experienced and knowledgeable registered professional nurse 24/7 by dialing 1-800-877-6976. These Registered Nurses will triage the veteran and provide recommendations as well as answer healthcare questions. This program was chosen nationally - as one of the top ten (it was fourth) - as an innovative nursing practice by the Department of Veteran Affairs. It was suggested that this program be the benchmark for Consolidated Telephone Care Programs in all Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. The VISN 2 Telephone Triage/VA Nurses Helpline is a service available to all veterans in the VISN 2 area. This includes the VA Medical Centers in Albany, Batavia, Bath, Bronx, Buffalo, Canandaigua, Hudson Valley, N Y Harbor, New Jersey Health Care System, Northport, Syracuse, and their associated satellite clinics. All telephone calls are answered by a staff of professional registered nurses who are experienced in critical care, telephone assessment, and crisis intervention. The triage nurses take advantage of many varied resources to help veterans and their families, such as computerized patient records, physicians, pharmacists, medical administrators, triage protocols and computer/hard copy references. Triage nurses provide both clinical evaluation and emotional support. They can help with a wide variety of problems and/or concerns that can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- symptom analysis
- first aid procedures
- stress/anxiety assessment
- medication questions
- lab test results
- patient education concerning specific disease entities, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- preparation for certain procedures
- check appointments
- caregiver support • Which VA Medical Center do you usually go to for medical attention? 4) Intervention• call 911• Clinic appointment
- 5) The phone call is documented in your medical record and all clinical calls are forwarded to your provider.
- • give you education and home care instructions
- • go to the Emergency Room
- The Nurse will advise you to either
- 3) Nurse asks a series of questions and makes decisions
- 2) Review records on computer
- • What is the reason for calling the HELPLINE?
- • What is your name and last 4 numbers of your Social Security Number?
- 1) Caller identification
- DO NOT CALL the VA Nurse Helpline for an emergency. If you, or the party of concern, have chest pain, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, severe bleeding or injury, poison ingestion, seizure, loss of vision or any other life threatening problem, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY. Healthcare professionals can utilize the Telephone Triage nurses to make follow-up calls to patients with acute problems. Examples include checking in on a newly diagnosed diabetic recently started on insulin or calling a patient waiting for the results of a lab test before starting antibiotic therapy. This type of call can help reinforce teaching, help allay the patient's anxiety, and preserve continuity of care. It will also serve to increase patient satisfaction. Additionally, follow-up calls are made to selected patients who have ambulatory surgery on a Friday or prior to a holiday. The Telephone Triage/VA Nurses Helpline staff consists of enthusiastic, caring nurses who are committed to helping the veteran patient, their families and their significant others. They provide quality service, improve access to comprehensive primary care and preserve continuity of access to care. STEPS IN TELEPHONE TRIAGE: When you call the VA Nurse's HELPLINE, the Registered Nurse will need to ask you some questions to determine what your needs are. Listed below are the questions and procedures you will encounter on a typical call:
1) Caller identification
- What is your name and last 4 numbers of your Social Security Number?
- Which VA Medical Center do you usually go to for medical attention?
- What is the reason for calling the HELPLINE?
2) Review records on computer
3) Nurse asks a series of questions and makes decisions
The Nurse will advise you to either
- call 911
- go to the Emergency Room
- Clinic appointment
- give you education and home care instructions
5) The phone call is documented in your medical record and all clinical calls are forwarded to your provider.
Hours of Operation
- 24 hour VA Nurses Help Line for Veterans.