"AN ORGANIZED SERVICE whose contribution to medical care should not be underestimated is that provided by visiting nurse associations." So wrote Dr. William P. Shepard and Dr. George M. Wheatley more than ten years ago.1 "Visiting nurse service," they went on to say, "... is the practicing physician's partner in caring for the sick." The statements are even more true today than they were when they first appeared.
Nursing services offering care of the sick at home are more frequently being provided in response to community demands. Some of the reasons are obvious—an increase in the proportion of our population in the over-65 age group and a corresponding increase in the incidence of chronic and longterm illness, the increasing cost of hospital care, and the limited number of hospital beds in some communities. There is growing recognition that many patients make better progress when cared for at home than when