Is a Home Health Nurse who works for home health care giving agencies
really trained well? If they were trained so well, why aren't they working in a
hospital or in a skilled nursing facility?
These are just a couple of questions that many people ask about home health nurses and the services they provide.
Actually, nurses are educated, trained, licensed and certified to provide a variety of education, nursing practices, and care in a variety of scenarios from the home environment to critical care centers. Whether you need specialized nursing care for medication supervision and oversight or hospice nursing at home, a home health nurse can provide a variety of services in home scenarios.
At its most basic definition, home health care nurses provide guidance, education, and medically skilled care and services for homebound patients, the elderly, and younger patients with disabilities.
As for why a nurse wouldn't want to work in a hospital, many don't. Many want more direct and frequent contact with their patients. A home health nurse is typically assigned to a number of clients or care recipients and sees them on a regular basis. Working with a care recipient on a long-term basis can provide enhanced stability, companionship, and trust in a person providing oversight and care. Among the most common tasks of home health care nurses for their health care recipients is to help them maintain, regain, or enhance physical independence and mobility. They also manage patient medication, wound care, catheter and ostomy care, and other skilled hands-on services.
A home health care nurse provides the same level of expertise and service in a home-based scenario as he or she would in a hospital, an intensive care unit, a hospice center, or a skilled nursing facility. The only difference is environment.
Like a nurse working in a hospital, home health nurses can also focus on specialty areas such as geriatric nursing. Geriatric nurses are highly trained and skilled in assessment, care, and supervision of those diagnosed with a variety of diseases of the elderly that can include diabetes, Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, cancers, and heart disease.
A home health care nurse undergoes training and education through academic and clinical programs. Today, more than 7 million Americans in the United States alone rely on the services provided by home health care nurses because of chronic illness, disabilities, and acute illness or recovery processes, as well as terminal diagnoses.
Home health care needs are growing as more seniors around the world age in place. The growing number of Baby Boomers also offer challenges for the home health care industry, and coupled with shorter hospital stays thanks to advancements in technology and healthcare, more patients tend to recuperate and rehabilitate in home-based scenarios than ever before. Medical outpatient procedures are more common than ever, and follow-up care in the home is required.
Nursing degrees range from an associate degree in nursing to bachelor and specialty degrees. When it comes to training, a home health care nurse obtains education through a credited nursing school. They start out with an associate degree in nursing, a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, or a Masters in nursing. Education for associates to bachelors degrees can take two to three years, and a variety of subjects are taught in nursing programs from anatomy and physiology to psychology, pharmacology, ethics, nutrition, microbiology, behavioral sciences, and more.
Following the book-learning aspect of education, potential nurses, no matter where they plan on working, must pass state mandated nursing exams which include paper testing as well as real clinical experience.
Families can rest assured that home health care nurses are supervised, and must have at least two years minimum post-clinical experience in the field before working with a home health care agency. Continuing education is also mandated so you can take comfort that professionals are always up to date on the latest modalities when it comes to care.