Is Home Health Right for You?
Megan Malugani | Monster Contributing Writer
Do You Have Reliable Transportation?
Home care workers make multiple house calls a day regardless of the weather, so having a reliable car or access to reliable public transportation is essential, Nelms says.
Are You Respectful of Patients and Their Turf?
Strong social skills and a high level of sensitivity are required to work in patients’ homes. “You have to take into consideration that they have the home-court advantage, and you have to be respectful of that,” Nelms says. Dealing with patients’ family members can also be touchy. “There are a lot more family dynamics to deal with in the home,” she says. “If there’s a caregiver involved, you’re including them in the treatment plan and goals.”
Adds Stokes: “You’re working in the homes of patients of different ethnicities and cultures, and you have to be adaptable and personable with everyone.”
Do You Want to Build Relationships?
Home care providers who love their jobs say the greatest rewards come from their patients. “In an institution, there is no chance to build up rapport with clients on a regular basis,” says Taryn Birkmire, executive director of Recco Home Care Services and vice president of the Long Island chapter of the New York State Association of Health Care Providers. “An attractive feature of home care is that you are able to have that relationship. You can interact one-on-one with a patient instead of caring for a number of patients.”
Plus, “seeing a patient flourish because of the care you’ve given them is something to be very proud of,” says Birkmire.
Should You Test-Drive Home Care?
You can give home care a try without quitting your day job by taking some per diem assignments through an agency. Most people will know immediately whether they love home care or hate it. “There’s no in-between,” Patillo says.