Working in Home Health:
Two Thumbs Up!
Have you ever thought of working in home health but put the idea aside because of the bad things you've heard? Well, there are two sides to every story. So, if you're contemplating full time, part time or PRN work as a home health therapist or nurse, it's important to consider the pros and cons of the job. Today, let's consider the tremendous opportunities and many, many reasons why you would want to be a home healthcare provider.
The Top 10 Best Reasons You SHOULD
Work in Home Health
Work in Home Health
10. You work by yourself- no conflict, no drama:
When you work in home health, you're going to be by yourself, day in and day out. There are no coworkers to argue with. There is no gossip to distract you from getting work done. There is no supervisor looking over your shoulder, telling you what to do or when to it. As long as you can get along with yourself, your work days are relatively peaceful and drama free.
9. You can enjoy a flexible work schedule:
In essence, you are your own boss. You decide when your day begins and when it ends. You choose whether or not you will work, and you can even pick which geographic areas you will cover. Such flexibility enables you to drop kids off at school every morning and be there to pick them up every afternoon. It's easy to carve time out of the day to schedule medical and dental appointments or to enjoy lunch with friends. Depending on your caseload, half days and three day weekends can happen whenever you want them to... without having to make your request 30 days in advance. (Your friends will be so jealous!) If you need any degree of flexibility in your work schedule, home health is the way to go.
8. Patients are highly motivated and they actually look forward to seeing you:
Once your patients are home, sleeping in their own beds and eating home cooked meals, they seem to have more energy, tolerance and motivation for therapy. Typically, this means they actually look forward to your visits. Patients can't wait to see what interesting activity you will bring, what new challenge you have to offer, what pearl of wisdom you will share, or what solution you can suggest. Once home, patients often see therapy as less of an obligation and more of an opportunity for improvement. It's a win-win situation for you and your patient!
7. You visit your patient in their home- a very functional environment:
In an inpatient or rehab setting or in a skilled nursing facility, providing functional therapy tasks can be difficult due to the limited nature of the environment. For instance, facility staff passes all meds, prepares all meals and performs all housekeeping tasks. Your greatest opportunity for functional treatment may be in teaching the use of the call bell or how to operate the bed control or television remote. However, once home, there are tremendous opportunities for fun and functional treatment tasks: organizing medication, planning and preparing meals, sorting laundry, clipping coupons, planning menus, scheduling appointments, etc. Cooperation and motivation tend to go through the roof when patients realize your therapy sessions can enable them to resume functional independence.
6. You can be very creative with your treatments:
Home health therapy allows clinicians to be very creative during their treatment sessions. Your patient can't find the bathroom? Add bright tape around the door frame. He wants to be able to do simple chores without help? Practice getting food and water for the pets at every visit. She refuses to bathe? Create a realistic (but pretend) "prescription" from the doctor, ordering showers three times a week. Taking a creative, problem solving approach to treatment can make your job more fun, and make life at home less frustrating, confusing or unsafe for patients and family members.
5. Family members are present for teaching and instruction:
While in a facility, patients are often alone, and communication with family members is limited to a written note taped to a bedside table or a fluorescent orange sign posted above the bed. Once they get home, however, spouses, children, relatives and friends are almost always around. This is a golden opportunity for home health workers to provide education and demonstration of important techniques and strategies. When this happens, caregivers learn and understand right alongside the patients, enabling excellent consistency, compliance and carryover of skills. Everybody wins!
4. You are well compensated:
While visit rates will vary, there is no doubt that home health workers are well compensated. It is not uncommon for a PRN therapist to be paid $15-$25 more than a salaried, facility-based employee. In some cases, nurses and therapists working part time in home health can make just as much as a full time hospital or clinic employee.
3. 40 minute treatments:
Without having to fuss with a coworker or negotiate with a manager, home health visits are typically 40 minutes long. This allows more than enough time to get things accomplished and enables a therapist to target a variety of goals.
2. Professional autonomy:
Working within agency guidelines and/or insurance parameters,the therapist is able to autonomously make decisions that influence all aspects of patient care. Home health therapists will decide who will be picked up for therapy, the number of visits to be made each week, the total number of weeks the patient will be seen and when the patient will be discharged. As a home health therapist, you have a tremendous amount of control when establishing a plan of care. It's a great feeling being able to give your patients what they need without begging or bargaining for time.
1. Satisfaction of witnessing recovery:
In the hospital, patients are in and out in a matter of days. In this type of acute setting and with such a short stay, you're not sure if they've gone to heaven or gone home. It can be hard to deal with. In rehab, time flies and your patients are gone before you even get to know them. Working in home health, it's not uncommon to follow a patient for two, three or even four months. This amount of time enables you to see recovery and experience the satisfaction of know that your treatment made a difference.
Being a home healthcare provider is fun, challenging and satisfying, all at the same time! Overall, home health is wonderful and it offers great opportunities to nurses and therapists all across the country... but it's not for everyone. In a separate post, you can find a list of the top 10 reasons why being a home health therapist is like your worst nightmare. Be sure to check it out!
In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Where do you work? Feel free to post your comments below, and, as always, please share this information with someone you know that may benefit.
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.