Surprising to no one, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed our views about work and the workplace. This paradigm shift also fed into the already increasing trends in home health services. Even before 2020, home health care was experiencing tremendous growth.
As our population ages, more people are dealing with chronic illness and age-related conditions. The ability to receive medical care in the home has become invaluable in helping the elderly stay in their homes longer rather than moving to assisted-living situations.
What You Need to Know
The outlook for home health is very promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health aide jobs between 2016 and 2026 were projected to grow up to 47%. Other healthcare occupations that may include providing care in the patient’s home are also projected to have rapid growth. Physical therapy jobs will grow 31% over the next ten years, occupational therapy will grow 30%, while nurse practitioners are projected to grow up to 36%. Overall, home health care is a booming industry.
Benefits of Working in Home Health
Home health care workers enjoy many benefits, including flexible scheduling, more autonomy and self-reliance, and more variety in the work environment. In addition to the perks, there are also important things to know about being a successful care provider. Let’s look at the top tips for home health care professionals.
Tips for Getting Started
- Be Organized: Depending on how your schedule sets up, you are going to be visiting patients back-to-back-to-back. Packing your supplies and equipment in an organized manner will save you time before, during, and after each appointment. Since your car is your office, it is vital to have a bag with basic office supplies, pens, notepads, phone charger cables, and even a power bank, so you are never faced with a dead phone or laptop.
- Learn Time Management: You will learn very quickly as a home health professional how important it is to manage your time. Your duties don’t begin and end with the actual providing of care. You have other responsibilities that may include teaching the patient new techniques, administering meds, listening and asking questions, taking notes, and completing forms (more on that later). You can stay productive and efficient by utilizing apps such as Evernote, Todoist, or Trello. Or develop your own system, as long as it helps you stay on track!
- Embrace the Documentation: Because you are working on your own with the patient in their home, you can expect there to be a bit more documentation than if you were in a typical care setting. Everything we have discussed thus far supports your being able to efficiently and accurately complete the required documentation. Whether filling out online forms on your laptop, or paper-based forms requiring a signature, there will be documentation that needs to be accurate and legible.
- Stay Flexible: The ability to think on your feet and adjust is the key to being flexible as a home health provider. Your patient may be having a challenging day, or one of the tools you need isn’t working. You still have to find a way to provide the necessary care for your patient and complete everything required for that visit.
- Be Patient: Those same things that require you to be flexible will most often require you to be patient as well. Your job is to care for your patient, so you have to maintain your calm, cool demeanor whenever the unexpected happens. Each patient is unique and has different needs to be met, your patience will go a long way toward making both of your experiences a good one.
- Stay Alert: When in the home setting, it may be easy to be distracted by the environment or things happening around you. Whether it is another family member, the television, or someone texting you about dinner plans, it is vital to stay focused and keep your attention on the patient. You are not only avoiding a potential mistake, but you could also miss hearing the patient mention vital information signaling a potential change in their condition.
- Pack Extra Scrubs or Clothes: Did we mention staying flexible and organized? Murphy’s Law will ensure that the day you forget to pack an extra pair of scrubs will be the day you face a very messy and unexpected situation. Or you may decide to wear your cup of coffee while driving between appointments; it is always best to have a backup.
- Pack a Healthy Lunch: When you drive past 15 fast food joints a day, it can be convenient to stop at one for lunch. Just don’t make it a habit. The ten minutes you save in the morning will do you no favors around your waistline or your energy levels. Buy yourself a nice cooler, invest in a good thermos so you can have hot soup or a cold smoothie, and keep an assortment of healthy snacks available. A healthy lunch will benefit you in more ways than you think.
- Care for Your Car: Don’t neglect the one thing that will ensure that you arrive at your destinations each day. That bright red light on the dashboard means that something needs to be checked sooner rather than later. Another pro-tip is keeping a gallon of washer fluid in your trunk, along with a portable air compressor that plugs into your lighter and fills your tire if necessary. Trust me, it is nearly impossible to find a tire filling station that actually works!
- Enjoy the Challenge: As with any job, your career in home health care will require time for adjustment. But think about how rewarding it will be to learn self-sufficiency, sharpen your skills and abilities, and utilize every aspect of your training and experience. When you provide care in your patient’s home, you are building a relationship and treating them in a more relaxed environment, leading to better outcomes.
Open Home Health Care Jobs
If you are considering home health opportunities, Supplemental Health Care can help you find the right one for you. Contact us today, and we can connect you with the job the fits your personal and professional needs.