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Hey guys!Question....

Home Health   (1,310 Views 4 Comments)
by sunshinerebel sunshinerebel (New) New

1,150 Profile Views; 5 Posts

Hi. I'm about to start LPN clinicals in January, and I have a question to all Home Health Nurses (especially LPNs): I'm considering Home Health as my career, and I was just wondering how yall like it. What is your usual day like? Are you happy with what you do? What are your normal duties? And for those that know, what are the duties of an LPN versus an RN in Home Health? What are LPNs limited to? Sorry I'm asking yall so many questions. All opinions, inputs, and anything else yall have to say are welcome. Thanks so much!:kiss

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37 Posts; 1,363 Profile Views

I am a home health nurse, and I love it. I've only been a nurse 5 years (went back to college at age 43, I'm now 50), did 2 years of med/surg/oncology in the hospital, and the rest of the time I have been doing home health. It is so much nicer, IMO, than being on the floor. You really have a more relaxed setting, spend a minimum of 30-40 minutes per patient, sometimes up to 3 hours if you are doing an admit. So, you really get to know them and they get to know you, and it's great!

I am an RN, but I think that most of the visits are the same as an LPN. Here, in Florida, only RNs can do admissions (which - count your blessings - are very lengthy and tons of paper work, usually takes about 3 hours to do it in the home) but in my agency, one admission counts as 2 visits. Generally what you do is go into the home, do vital signs, do an assessment (from head to toe), do whatever the skill is that is needed (wound care, cath change, the reason for which you are there), do some instruction on the disease or management (signs and symptoms of infection, stress management, diet, diabetic care, etc), and then you are on to the next patient.

If you are a real people person and enjoy getting to know people, you will probably love this job. Some people don't enjoy driving, but I don't mind it. My agency also pays for travel time and mileage so it definitely a plus.

However, usually agencies like to make sure you have had at least some clinical experience on med/surg or somewhere in the hospital because once you are out in the field, you are on your own! There is no one to ask advice from or how to do something. Assessment skills are very important in home care.

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214 Posts; 7,342 Profile Views

Hi, Sunshinerebel! Welcome! As an LPN who has had 12 years of Home Health Care experience, I can tell you that here in Michigan, I can do just about everything except admissions and IV starts--agency policies can differ and so can State rules and regs governing what an LPN can and cannot do.

However, I will suggest that you experience at least a year of med/surg or Long Term Care nursing--while this may not be what you want to hear, there is good reason for it: Home Health Care nurses need to be proficient and alert because we are the only ones in the home. There is no backup, no extra hands to help in a time of trouble; and while problems can be few and far between, when they do come we need to be able to act quickly and decisively in dealing with them.

Good Luck to you! Keep us posted.


Lois Jean

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CardioTrans is a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/CCU/MICU/SICU/CTICU.

789 Posts; 10,715 Profile Views

Hi Sunshine..........

I worked as an LPN in home health while I was in RN school.......... the major differences in LPN & RN is the paperwork.....

LPN's cant do admissions or supervisory visits, mainly because of Medicare and Insurance guidelines. Here in AL some agencies wont let the LPN start IVs in the homes, but they can access an existing line.

And I agree 100% with Lois about the experience first........ Alot of agencies want you to have at least 1 yr of hosp or LTC exp before you venture into home health. The reason being is that you are the only one there and are not able to call down the hall for help......... you have to be able to draw blood, do dressing changes all on your own..... The exp also helps you develop your assessment skills so that you can pick up on the "little things".

You always have a person in the office that you can call and talk to run things by....... but skill wise...... you are on your own.

You do alot of patient education re: meds, disease process, diet, wound care, IVs ( managed care background here) you draw labs, change catheters, VS etc....... Once back at the office you follow up on labs, and orders and relay info to the team leader in the office and other nurses....... the average visit is about 30-45 minutes, unless of course you get the difficult patient who Murphys Law applies to.....lol

Home health can be VERY rewarding........ you are the eyes and ears of the MD. You get the feeling that you are actually making a difference in the patients life...... by being able to take care of them in their own home, you kinda become part of their family. The hours can sometimes be long, and the driving in all kinds of weather and along side those crazy drivers who shouldnt have a license....lol. There can be very bad homes that you go into, by bad I mean a variety of things, very low income homes, very unsanitary homes, and some bad neighborhoods. However on a good note about that........ the low income homes are usually the ones that appreciate you being there the most....... the unsanitary homes you can get social workers involved and improve the patients quality of life, and the bad neighborhoods, well lets just say that there are people who know you are there to do your job and take care of that patient so they look out for you. Once you have become a "regular" in that neighborhood, even the police know when and where you will be and will always be looking out for you.

I have done home health 11 yrs......... and love it. It was my true calling. Good luck in school and I wish you the best.

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