No one is ever really prepared for a healthcare situation, be it surgery, declining health due to age, cancer care, or hospice. When you or a loved one faces a medical challenge that leaves you unable to be ambulatory, the care options available include hospitalization, staying in a nursing home, or hiring a private duty nurse at home. Most people will agree that the preferred option would be receiving medical care and assistance within the comfort of one’s home. Understanding how to hire a nurse for home care is the first important step to take in this direction.
What Is the Difference Between a Caregiver and a Private Nurse?
When it is time to consider hiring a nursing provider for a loved one, it helps to be familiar with the differences between a caregiver, also referred to as a home health aide, and a private nurse. Each will provide separate services, with some overlapping services. It is essential to understand exactly what the medical assistance needs will be before determining which type of home care provider to hire.
Caregivers, or home health aides, are individuals who assist patients by monitoring their vital signs and overall condition but do not provide medical procedures. The caregiver will assist the patient with bathing, toileting, dressing, and other basic tasks that can help the individual at home. A step up from the caregiver level of care is the licensed nursing assistant (LNA) who will provide some medical tasks, change of dressings, clean catheters, administer some treatments, and provide ambulatory assistance. The LNA can also assist in personal patient care, such as bathroom assistance, bathing, dressing, and feeding.
The private duty nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who has completed a nursing program and holds a nursing degree or diploma. The RN has passed the state board exams and is licensed in the state board of nursing in which they work. The private duty RN assists the patient’s physician by providing a wide range of medical procedures, administering medications, providing various nursing procedures that involve medical equipment, and monitoring health status. The nurse will work in tandem with the physician, keeping the doctor informed of any changes in the patient’s status and then performing the necessary medical tasks related to the needs of the condition.
Steps on How to Hire a Nurse for Home Care
Hiring a private nurse for home care is much like hiring any other service provider. It is important to perform due diligence before making a hiring decision. Tips on how to hire a nurse for home care include:
- Arrange for a consult with the nursing agency to discuss the specific medical needs of your loved one. It is critical that the nursing agency know the depth of medical care required for the patient to be able to select someone with adequate experience and expertise with a given condition. Ask the nursing agency specific questions about whether their nurses have experience in with the patient’s medical condition.
- Ask about their backup care policies, in case the primary nurse is ill or unavailable. Make certain that there is a policy in place to swiftly replace the nurse with an alternate.
- Check the Better Business Bureau to ensure that no complaints have been filed against the nursing agency.
- Check the agency’s reviews on Google or Yelp.
- Ask the agency for references from former patients or the families of former patients
- Ask if background checks have been done on their nurses.
- Insist that you meet with the nurse ahead of time to see if they are a compatible fit for the loved one.
- Clarify expectations in advance, so there are no disappointments or surprises.
- What Medical Duties Does a Private Home Care Nurse Provide?
A private duty nurse can provide a number of medical procedures including:
- I.V. administration, injections, drawing blood
- Medication management and administration
- Wound care
- Colostomy care
- Catheter care
- Tracheotomy care
- Respiratory treatments and care
- Diabetes care
- Detoxification care
- Oral care
- TPN administration (liquid sustenance)
- Ambulatory assistance
- Hospice care
- Coordinate services with other healthcare providers
A private nurse will provide the medical care necessary to assist the patient in the privacy and comfort of their own home.