A lot of us are familiar with hospital nurses, but some of the most impactful healing happens at home with the help of a home health care nurse. They provide specialised medical care and comfort to the patients, who are usually recovering from accidents or in need of elderly-disability care, right in their own house. The care assistance can include primary health check up, wound and medication management, record maintenance, etc.
A personal care nurse may need to work various shifts and can be on call every minute of their job. A typical work day can involve various challenges and obstacles as they meet with new patients and their constantly changing health conditions. They are always on the go and updated with vast knowledge of primary health care since they will not have immediate access to a physician.
Types of Home Health Care Specialities
The home health care nurses provide care to people who cannot leave their homes for treatment. Based on the care provided, there are different types of specialisation, licences and degrees. The registered nurses (RN) may hold degrees in nursing and are the only eligible nurses who can administer IV therapy at home.
The Various types of specialities are:-
- Home Care: The care can be short or long-term and may include patients recovering from accidents or surgery, managing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure etc.
- Paediatrics: Involves child care mainly for children who have a severe disability or chronic illness.
- Adult Nursing: Involves care for the elderly or adults who have a disability and chronic illness. It involves health and hygiene management, wound care, medication management, etc.
- Rehabilitation needs highly specialised care for patients suffering from severe accidents, amputation, war wounds, or progressive disability management for diseases like ALS, MS etc.
- Hospice services involve caring for patients to live their limited life expectancy with dignity and comfort.
Apart from these, their duties may include mental and physical health checkups, providing comfort and awareness to family members, and sometimes even being a therapist and a friend.
What does it Take to Be a Successful Personal Care Nurse?
There are many factors to be considered to succeed in this field. Home care nurses usually have an unpredictable schedule and can face many obstacles in terms of travelling schedules, non-supportive family members, and many more. To overcome all these, few things to keep in mind –
- Empathic and compassionate approach: Be it the patient or the family, understanding their viewpoint and outlook can benefit everyone. It will help build and maintain a healthy and compassionate relationship with the patient. The home care nurse is the one they look up to for support, encouragement, and a progressive and positive outcome.
- Competence in the field: Often, the home care nurses will not have immediate access to a doctor, so any health issues need to be dealt with by them. Keeping oneself updated with emergency procedures and preventive care management knowledge is essential to being a home care nurse.
- Adaptability to situations: As the nurses meet with new people and are exposed to new environments, it is essential to be flexible in dealing with patients and their family members and respecting their care plan.
- Professionalism: The nurses are expected to adhere to professional boundaries and treatment standards while taking care of the patient. They might have to advocate for their patient’s health when the treatment plan is not ideal or educate the family members.
- Integrity to the job: A home carer is trusted to have high morals and ethical standards to do the job.
A Day in the Life of a Home Health Care Nurse
The typical schedule of a home care nurse includes meeting new clients and family members, wound and medication management, drawing blood and other samples and so on. They can work with multiple people, or if they are stay-in carers, they might deal with just one or two patients at a time.
The home care nurse starts their day by getting into their mobile office, simply their vehicle. Since they do not have access to store rooms and other technologies that come with the hospital, they tend to carry certain records and other medications that the patients in case of emergencies require.
Administering Care: The nurses care for patients suffering from various chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. They start by taking their vitals, temperature, physical and mental health check, and other routine tests. Many of these patients are on multiple medications, so utmost care is required in administering the medicines.
The patients recovering from surgery or accidents need intensive wound care management, including wound care, insertion and removal of catheters, physical therapy and so on. For elderly care, the duties may involve feeding the patient, bathing, administering medicines, etc. Often senior citizens are alone, lonely, and in need of companionship, and the personal nurse plays many roles in their life. They have to be their friend, mentor, and companion and build the support and empower the patient to see hope.
Observations and Assessments: After taking the vitals and providing care, the home care nurse monitors their health and reactions to the medications. They note the changes in patients’ health issues or any new signs of illness. These reports aid in understanding if the treatment plans are working and the progression of the diseases. In case of worsening symptoms, the physicians can take immediate action.
These notes are provided and communicated effectively to the family members so that it helps them with awareness and expectations, provide care and health tips for the comfort of the patient, and make clear decisions on further action plans.
Other duties may include:
- Use medical aid and equipment available in the patient’s home.
- Helping the patient manage the side effect of the procedures and medications.
- Creating a healthy food plan and exercise to cope with the current diagnosis.
- Provide advice and care to cope with changes in their body, environment, and family members.
Conclusion: A Fulfilling Career in Home Care Nursing
The home care nurse has a flexible and fulfilling career as a hospital nurse. The only difference is the location of the patients. The personal carer gets to see the long-term result of a patient’s progress in their home. After providing care to the patient, they see them walking normally, socialising and dressing on their own, speaking and breathing better. A hospice patient and their family, with the help of the home carer, can understand and be confident in moving forward. The home nurse is an integral part of the health department
What is the most vital job in-home health care?
The most important role of a personal home nurse is to provide care to patients in their own homes. It may include bathing and feeding, administering prescription medicines, using various medical equipment etc.
How to be a good home care provider?
A good home healthcare nurse is ideally the patient’s advocate. By doing the duties and responsibilities with the most diligence and integrity, the nurse provides safe care and environment to the patient.
What is the difference between home care personnel and home health care nurses?
A personal carer provides help around the house by making food, and cleaning the house, while a home health care nurse offers clinical support to the patient with wound care, medicines, hygiene, therapy, and many more.
Why is home health care better for the elderly?
If an elderly can be treated at home without hospitalisation, then the patient’s safety and comfort should be taken into consideration. It not only reduces the duration of the hospital stays but keeps the patient calm, improves mental health and decreases the cost.
What are the different types of home health care nurses?
Various specialities include hospice which includes care till the end of life, rehabilitation for physical injuries and progressive diseases, and adult and child care nurse for children, young adults and seniors.
What are the duties of a hospice nurse?
A hospice nurse cares for end-of-life patients, by providing them with a compassionate and comfortable environment, aiding in managing the symptoms and pain, and providing health education and support to patients’ family members.
What is the advantage of home care nursing?
It provides a safe and infection-free environment for the patient to recover with a customised treatment plan and a specialised nurse who comes to their home. It helps them carry on with their daily life, and the home care nurse provides companionship.