How to Become a Home Health Care Nurse
Home Health Care Nursing Information and Overview
Home health care is allowing the patient and their family to maintain dignity
and independence. According to the National Association for Home Care, there are
more than 7 million individuals in the United States in need of home health care
nurse services because of acute illness, long term health problems, permanent
disability or terminal illness.
Home Health Care Basics
Nurses practice in a number of venues: Hospital settings, nursing homes,
assisted living centers, and home health care. Home health care nursing is a
growing phenomenon as more patients and their families desire to receive care in
their homes. The history of home health care stems from Public Health Nursing
where public health nurses made home visits to promote health education and
provide treatment as part of community outreach programs.
Baby boomers approaching retirement and will present new challenges for the home
health care industry.
Today academic programs train nurses in home care and agencies place home health
care nurses with ailing individuals and their families depending on the nurse's
experience and qualifications. In many cases there is a shared relationship
between the agency and the academic institution.
Many changes have taken place in the area of home health care. These include
Medicare and Medicaid, and Long Term Care insurance reimbursement and documentation.
It is important for the nurse and nursing agency to be aware of the many factors
involved for these rules and regulations resulting from these organizations.
Population and demographic changes are taking place as well. Baby boomers
approaching retirement and will present new challenges for the home health care
industry. Technology and medical care in hospitals has lead to shorter inpatient
stay and more at-home rehabilitation. Increases in medical outpatient procedures
are also taking place with follow-up home care. This has resulted in the
decrease of mortality rate from these technologies and medical care has lead to
increases in morbidity and chronic illness that makes the need for home health
care nursing a greater priority.
Home Health Care Nurse Job Description
Through an array of skills and experience, home health care nurses specialize in
a wide range of treatments; emotional support, education of patients who are
recovering from illnesses and injury for young children and adults, to women who
have experienced recent childbirth, to the elderly who need palliative care for
A practicing nurse must have the skills to provide care in a unique setting such
as someone's home. The nurse is working with the patient and the family and must
understand the communication skills for such dynamics. Rapport is evident in all
nursing positions, but working in a patient's own living space needs a different
level of skill and understanding.
There is autonomous decision making as the nurse is no longer working as a team
with other nurses in a structured environment, but is now as a member of the "family"
team. The host family has cultural values that are important and are different for
every patient and must be treated with extreme sensitivity. Other skills include
critical thinking, coordination, assessment, communication, and documentation.
The average salary for home health care nurses is $49,000
Home health care nurses also specialize in the care of children with
disabilities that requires additional skills such as patience and understanding
of the needs of the family. Children are living with disabilities today that
would have resulted in mortality just twenty years ago. Genetic disorders,
congenital physical impairments, and injury are just a few.