I love nursing! I’ve been a nurse for 30 years and a nursing assistant for four years. Nursing is all that I know. Nursing is the only career that I know. Now that I have that out of the way, nursing is a joy, but it is hard. You see I have been a “floor nurse”’most of my career. Earlier on my career I did home health nursing and intravenous nursing. Those were some good times!! Home health nursing is one of the most enjoying fields of nursing. Home health nurses are able to autonomously used their education and skills.
What is the Role of a Home Health Care Nurse
My cache area was in the city, which meant that I had maybe a 10 block radius to cover. I would make my own schedule in concert with my patients schedules. I was able to take my children to school and I was able to pick them up from school. In between patients I would do my grocery shopping and my errands.
I truly enjoyed home health nursing because I was able to care for the patient one on one in their home. I was able to educate patients as well as get them the resources that they need. I was able to talk to the doctor about their concerns and get the patient what they needed.
I had very good relationships with family members. In fact, the family members was very grateful that nurses was coming to their loved ones home. My area was not safe at times, so the family members would walk me to my car!
Roles and Duties of a Home Health Care Nurse
My patients had all diagnoses that you would see in the hospitals. I had patients with cancer, congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure , and surgeries. Once these patients was discharged from the hospital, sometimes they will fall through the cracks. This is where my services was needed.
For example, sometimes patients would be discharged from the hospital with wounds, and they were not given any wound supplies. Or you had a patient who was a newly diagnosed diabetic, and they were not given any resources about how to get a glucometer and diabetic supplies.
Sometimes patients would be on a medication that requires frequent blood draws, and they were housebound. My job was to go and draw the blood and take the blood to the lab.
Other times I would go to the home, and the patient would clearly be sick, and I would have to call 911.
Patients would be discharged with long term antibiotics. The private insurances would give the nurses 5 visits to teach the patient and family members. Medicare was a little bit more lenient, and required the nurse to make their own judgment in relationship to what the patient needs were.
Home Health Nursing Challenges
Home health nursing was not always peaches and cream! First of all you had to have a reliable form of transportation. If you got a flat tire, or if your battery wouldn’t start you had to really scramble, because your patients depend on you to be at their home.
One of the most difficult challenges was dealing with private insurance companies. We had to convince them that either the patient really could not do their sacrum wound care, or they had no one to help them. The private insurance companies would give us maybe 3 to 4 visits at a time. If you need it more visits, you would have to submit paperwork to justify it.
Home Health Nurse Documentation
Speaking of paperwork, If you are not a paperwork person, Home care nursing is not for you! Granted we don’t do literal paperwork anymore, it’s done on computers. However there is tons of documentation.
Life was great and then…. The floor fell out of home health nursing for me. Let me explain.
[su_highlight background=”#99f9ff”]Medicare came out with new regulations. They developed an assessment called OASIS. Outcome and Assessment Information Set(OASIS) changed home health nursing forever. This assessment was developed to measure patient outcomes for the purpose of performance improvement.[/su_highlight]
Home Health Care Nurse Job Descriptions
- Assess patients’ condition during every visit and chart your observations
- Perform evaluation tasks, including vital signs and medication review
- Administer medication as prescribed by the patient’s Physician
- Dress or redress open wounds and assess progress of healing
- Educate patients and their families on proper home health care strategies and procedures
- Coordinate with Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Physicians and anyone else involved in the patient’s care plan
Are you a home health nurse or considering a career in home health nursing? Leave me a message telling me all about it!