What does a Home Health Nurse do?

A home health nurse is a registered nurse or nurse practitioner who visits patients in their homes to provide care. A home health nurse may visit a patient on a temporary basis, such as while he or she recovers from surgery or an accident, or the nurse may be a permanent part of daily care, as in the case of patients with severe illnesses or disabilities. Palliative or hospice care is frequently provided home health nurses to elderly patients or those suffering from terminal illnesses such as cancer. This type of home care nurse may also be responsible for supervising any other nurse’s aides who work in the home.

Only experienced nurses are typically qualified to work as home health nurses. This is because the job necessitates a high level of specialized knowledge as well as the ability to make decisions without the constant supervision of a team of nurses or doctors. The nurse must also be very knowledgeable about pharmacology and any prescription medications that the patient is taking, as well as any special restrictions imposed the doctor or any other pertinent information. A home health nurse must be well-organized, self-motivated, and enjoy interacting with patients and their families.

A home health nurse’s specialization in a particular field of medicine, such as pediatric care, oncology, or orthopedic care, to name a few, is very common. When caring for patients with specific illnesses, this specialized set of knowledge will be useful and necessary. Nurses who specialize in a particular field frequently choose to work with the same doctors for an extended period of time. This is because it becomes easier to predict what the doctor will do and what his or her orders for patient care will be over time.

Some patients require round-the-clock care, so anyone interested in working as a home health nurse should expect to work long shifts at any time of day or week. While working these shifts, a home health nurse may be responsible for a variety of tasks. Checking wounds for proper healing or administering medications, checking vital signs, and making assessments to prepare reports for the doctor are examples of these tasks. Although it is not the job of a nurse to clean a patient’s home or cook meals for him or her, he or she may assist the patient in performing daily tasks such as bathing.