How does FootCare by Nurses compare to Podiatry?
Podiatrists are medical doctors whose responsibility is to diagnose and fix problems. They recommend treatments and do procedures. We are Registered Nurses (RNs) trained in board certified in foot care and our responsibility is to prevent problems from happening. There is some overlap. We use practice standards and evidence garnered from a multitude of disciplines to guide our practice. We do a complete lower limb assessment, assess shoes and socks and gait, trim toenails, reduce toenail thickness, reduce calluses, remove corns, address fungal toenails and skin issues, help with edema control, perform a circulation-enhancing massage, reset balance and fit some shoes for diabetics and hard to fit feet. We do not diagnose, do surgery, or prescribe. We do work closely with MDs, DPMS, Physical therapists and pedorthists in the area and we are not afraid to pick up the phone and advocate for the needs of our patients.
Do you take insurance?
While our service is considered to be a medical service (because what we do is skilled nursing care) we do not bill insurance directly. Unless you are a diabetic, routine foot care rarely covered by insurance anyway. We accept cash, check and charge and will invoice rep payees. We do provide a medical treatment receipt that you can submit for reimbursement. Some insurance companies do recognize foot care as a health care need and will reimburse you. A lot depends on your particular insurance company. We are also able to accept FSA/ HSA payments.
What happens in a foot care visit?
The initial visit typically takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. It includes an intake, which involves gathering a health history and the medications you are taking. We follow best practices as recommended by the AAFCN, the CAFCN and the world of wound care prevention. That’s why we never soak feet. We also don’t apply polish. We don’t just clip nails. We do a through assessment of your shoes, socks, balance, skin and pulses to put together a picture of your foot health. We then work with you to create a plan that works for you. Nails are then trimmed, any corns and calluses are reduced. If you have cracked heels, we remove the dead dry skin so that healing can occur. Our tools are chemically sterilized between each use. We use burrs and other tools to minimize discomfort and risk of injury. Once your nails and skin are back into a healthier state we then use olive oil with a hint of liniment (hypoallergenic) to provide you with reflexology based circulation-enhancing massage that is tailored to your needs. As we do our work, we share with you or nursing knowledge, observations and concerns and provide you with education about your foot health. We also work with you to come up with a plan that will enhance your foot health without breaking your budget. Our overall approach is very person-centered and holistic and we are good at helping you have happy healthy feet. A follow-up session is then typically 1/2 hour. At those sessions, we assess progress and continue to provide education and care to the feet. At every session (unless counter indicated) a reflexology based circulation enhancing foot massage is provided.
How much does an appointment cost?
It depends where we see you. Our standard treatment visits in our Greenfield office are $45 for 1/2 hour visit. This is our rate at our Greenfield office. Our home visit fee is $30, which is in addition to the standard visit fee, making ongoing home visits $75. We cover from Leominster throughout the Pioneer Valley and into the beginning of the Berkshires. We think that all feet deserve great care, but we also have to pay for gas.
Initial intake visits always take longer. We schedule them for an hour. There is therefore an initial visit fee of $45, which is in addition to the treatment.
We deliberately keep our Council on Aging/ Senior Center pricing as low as possible. A session is typically $35 and lasts 1/2 hour. We are able to do this when COA’s/ senior centers help us with the overhead. At some senior centers, there are grants and donations that help offset the price. Please call your local center for details. Initial sessions at COA take longer than the 30 mins typically allocated. At some senior centers, there are certain “new patient” slots and additional new patient fees. Please call your local senior center for details.
We work with Area Service Access Points (ASAPS) like Life Path, WMEC and elder Services of Berkshire county, so if you are receiving assistance from them please ask your case worker if you are eligible for foot care services.
Whose feet do you take care of?
Our youngest patient is 14. Her mother didn’t want her to get bunions or her feet to hurt. Our oldest patient is 103 and still walks around town. We care for active people who are walkers, runners, health care workers, food service providers, factory workers and even cyclists. In a nutshell, we work with people who don’t want their feet or knees to hurt. We also take care of people who can not move their limbs, and people who are bed bound or confined to wheel chairs or even on vents. Anyone who values their foot health and needs just a little professional foot care and TLC is a potential client of ours.
Our nurses are also great with taking care of feet belonging to people with dementia/ Alzheimer’s. If you are a diabetic, have neuropathy, or are unable to reach your feet due to surgery, or other obstacles or health issues, we are happy to be your foot angels. Our mission is prevention and our passion is caring and our role in health care is to keep all feet happy and healthy.