What Does A Homecare Health Nurse Do?

What does a homecare health nurse do? The simple answer is that homecare nurses provide the same kinds of care as hospital nurses, but they do it in the patient’s home. There are various reasons why someone may need nursing care at home, and those reasons dictate the role the homecare nurse will play.

Some aspects of nursing care remain the same, whether the nurse is working in a hospital or home environment. The most important skill is assessment. All nurses need to develop proficiency in assessing a patient’s current status as well as determining what their future needs may be. Day-to-day duties include hands-on patient care such as administering medications, maintaining IVs, and wound care. Education is also an ongoing task in the nurse’s day. The homecare nurse will be called upon to educate patients and their families on a wide variety of things including hands-on care and the disease process itself.

Short Term Recovery Care

Patients who have had a recent surgery or illness may require home nursing care on a short-term basis. They may need assistance with wound care, dressing changes, IV management, the use of special equipment needed for their recovery, administering medications, and collecting blood for testing.

Long Term Care for Patients with Chronic Diseases

A homecare nurse may be called upon to do home visits to children suffering from developmental issues, mobility problems or chronic diseases. Working with children requires providing not only the hands-on care of the child, but also communicating with and educating the parents.

Caring for elderly patients with chronic and debilitating diseases is the most common assignment given to the homecare nurse. In many cases, the homecare nurse may be the only member of the medical community the patient has contact with on a regular basis. For this reason, good communication and assessment skills are vital in keeping the physician aware of the patient’s day-to-day condition, so that proper care and treatment can be implemented.

Hospice Care

Hospice home nurses work with patients and their families to allow a person with a terminal disease to die at home. The nurse works in conjunction with the patient’s physician to formulate a care plan based on patient needs as well as the wishes of the patient and their family. The nurse will be called upon to assist with hands-on care. They may educate the patient and family in techniques for pain management. The hospice nurse may well be present at the patient’s death.

All nursing, regardless of the setting, begins and ends with patient assessment, patient education and communication. In a hospital setting, physicians make rounds on an everyday basis with their patients. A homecare health nurse must not only provide all forms of traditional nursing care but must also be the eyes and ears of the physician. As you can see, the homecare nurse provides not only hands-on care and emotional support to the patient, but is also the instrumental link between the patient and physician; ensuring that the patient receives the best possible medical treatment.