Growing Opportunities for Nurses in Home Health Care
Kathy Quan | NursingLink
Home health care is one of the fastest growing areas in health care today. For nurses, providing care for patients in their own homes is the place to be in the next decade. This includes private duty shift work in homes, as well as intermittent home health and hospice care.
Convenient for the Patient
Medical care in your own home! Who could ask for more?
The cost of health care has spun way out of control and home health care is one way to reduce such costs. In his own home, a patient is not only more comfortable, but is able to assume more responsibility for his outcomes and recover quickly. Patients are safer and more comfortable in their own bed, basically immune to their own germs and environment. They are less likely to acquire secondary infections, such as MRSA, a common threat in hospital environments.
Appealing for Nurses
The great thing about home health care is that it incorporates so many fields and specialties. There’s never a dull moment!
Sometimes patients are too sick to care for themselves in their own home and require private duty shift care, or intermittent visits from nurses or therapists (or some combination of both). They need to be taught about new medications, dietary restrictions, and home safety tips. Patients may have wounds, unhealed incisions, or immobilization devices such as splints or casts. They may have IV antibiotics or have ongoing chemotherapy treatments. Some may have tubes such as G-tubes, pleural drainage, wound or incision drains and dressings, Foley catheters, or are dependent on machines such as suction or ventilators. All of this requires specialized care that only a trained professional can provide.
Hospice Nurses Need a BSN
Home Health Care Today
In the 80’s and 90’s, home health care got a bad reputation as being a place to make lots of money, seeing many patients each day who required easy patient care with few challenges. It was thought that nurses weren’t “real nurses” because the patient care was very simplistic and low tech. Today, however, home health care is still a lucrative career, but the on-the-job skills are just as demanding as any other nursing job.