Home health care is becoming increasingly attractive as Baby Boomers hit retirement age. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of people aged 65 and older can expect to use some form of long-term care at some point in the future. The Family Caregiving Alliance notes that currently, 4,742,500 people in the U.S. are receiving long term care provided by home health agencies.
Home Health Care Fills a Growing Need
As the U.S. population continues to age, home health care will be needed more than ever, making it an excellent career choice for many nurses, CNAs, and other home care providers.
But even now, home health care addresses a significant need for many. USA Today's "Home Care for Seniors: a Win-Win" outlines several clinical advantages that come from seeing patients in their home environment.
In the article, Dr. Soeren Mattke, a senior scientist at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, notes that one problem with traditional health care, in which patients are only seen on providers' turf, is that health issues are dealt with in isolation. "When they go to the physician, they have maybe 10 minutes' face time," Mattke says. "So what often happens is the conversation focuses on what is the most pressing issue that day. But many other things that also have to be handled really never get any attention."
Home health visits help uncover clues to why patients may be failing physically or mentally that are harder to see in a short doctor's visit. For instance, a worker providing in home health care may find that a patient's nutritional needs are not being met by doing something as simple as opening the patient's refrigerator and having a peek inside. Or, a home health care worker might notice that a patient is unable to maintain a prescribed drug regimen without some type of assistance, something that a patient may be embarrassed to discuss on a doctor visit.
Home health care offers seniors and their families significant health benefits by providing a high quality of care for those seniors who choose to age in place.
Benefits to the Home Care Worker
In addition to the benefits a senior derives from hiring a home care agency, there are many benefits to the home health care workers themselves.
For instance, many nurses choose to pursue a career in home health because of its flexible schedule. Unlike a hospital or medical clinic setting where a nurse may be asked to work for 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts, a home health schedule can be tailored to fit the scheduling needs of the nurse. This makes a home health career an excellent choice for those with young children or those wishing to scale back their work hours to accommodate a personal need or preference.
For many nurses, a career in home health represents the best way to do exactly what they went into the field of nursing to do in the first place - provide excellent patient care. Rather than trying to handle multiple patients all at one time in a hospital setting, home health nurses can concentrate on one patient at a time, thereby providing a high level of personal care to each patient. Home health nurses get to see the long-term effects of their patient care, which is rewarding to see.
Are you thinking of a career in home health care? Contact us to see how you can enjoy the rewards of providing excellent care to patients in their home environments.