As demand for home healthcare professionals increases, more and more nurses and therapists are considering it as a specialty. Like all specialties, providing home health care isn’t for everyone. Let’s look at the top ten things you should know about home health care before taking the leap.
10 Things You Should Know
- Alone, but not. Just because you are typically on your own during a home health care visit, doesn’t mean that you are flying solo. Instead, as a home health care practitioner, you are acting as the eyes and ears of the entire medical team who is overseeing your patient’s clinical care.
- Check your judgments at the door. As a home health care professional, you are going to see a variety of living conditions. Some great, some not so much. Your job isn’t to comment or pass judgment about the cleanliness of your patient’s home. Inserting your living standards into the situation can get in the way of providing unbiased care.
- Organization is the key. Any home health worker will tell you the importance of being and staying organized. The time you are spending with the patient is critical and should not be spent rifling through your laptop bag looking for care instructions and other information about this patient. All of that should be organized and ready to go before you walk through the door.
- Embrace the paperwork. Whether it is hardcopy forms to be filled out, or extensive notes being typed into your laptop, home health involves a lot of paperwork. Because the care is being provided in the patient’s home, there are a lot of regulations about record-keeping that need to be adhered to for each visit.
- You are the help desk. While we previously mentioned being alone but being part of a collaborative team, that is usually not the case when it comes to technology. In home health, you have to learn to become tech-savvy pretty quick. From glitches with your laptop to technical issues with patient care equipment, you are going to be the first line of defense in getting things back up and running smoothly.
- Safety is critical. In a hospital environment, you have been drilled on maintaining proper needlestick and other safety concerns. A home environment is unpredictable meaning that you have to be extremely diligent about using proper precautions and techniques to protect yourself and your patient from preventable injuries. Other considerations will be working in unfamiliar or high-crime neighborhoods, unleashed dogs, and even icy sidewalks and steps.
- Have reliable transportation. Unlike working in a hospital or other typical care setting where you can always take an Uber or a bus to work when your car is in the shop, in home care you are traveling to multiple locations per day. Keeping your car properly serviced and in working condition is always an important consideration.
- Being a good teacher. You are a trained professional and have a college degree and certifications to back it up, family caregivers don’t have that type of training. Learning to be patient and properly training other caregivers who will be there for your patient when you are gone is an important task. A big part of your job will be to teach the patient and family to manage as much of their healthcare needs as possible.
- Sometimes you are a mediator. In home health care, there may be times when you will be forced into the middle of family disagreements about the level of care a patient needs. The key is to remain calm and always neutral when family members disagree. Your role is to provide the medical information as necessary, not opinions.
- MacGyver isn’t just a TV show. The longer you are in home health care, the more ways you will have discovered to accomplish the same thing. In a patient’s home, you aren’t always going to have the supplies that you are used to having. Your ingenuity, confidence, and creativity will go a long ways toward your successfully overcoming the inevitable unforeseen circumstances.
While it is true that home health care comes with a unique set of challenges, for many nurses or therapists who enjoy a sense of independence and more control over their schedule, it is a great career option. Home health provides variety, time out in the community, and the ability to work closely with your patients and their family members. Home health care can provide you with a wonderful sense of accomplishment as you are helping individuals to stay in the home and maintain their independence as long as possible.
Supplemental Health Care has many home care opportunities throughout the United States. Contact one of our recruitment professionals to find out if it is the right move for you.
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