7 Signs a Career as a Home Health Care CNA is Right For You

Melissa Mills
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You have several years of experience as a caregiver under your belt. But, as you look at new opportunities, you wonder if working as a home care CNA in home health might be a good fit for you. You’ve met some home care aides who love it and others who say they couldn’t get back to a facility fast enough. 

So, what will be your experience? Let’s explore the ins and outs of home care and a few things you need to know before you make the change. 

What is Home Health Care Anyway?

Home health care offers a wide range of health care services for chronic and acute illnesses or injuries. All services are provided in the client's home, making the care more convenient and less expensive than in the hospital or skilled nursing facilities. Most insurances cover home care services, but a nurse or physical therapist must oversee them.

Many people think home health care is easier and less complicated to deliver. However, with rising healthcare costs and shorter hospital stays, patients go home quicker and sicker. This healthcare trend means home care patients require highly skilled and complex care. A few of the nursing services patients might receive in the home include:

  • Wound care
  • Ostomy care
  • IV therapy with fluid or medications
  • Medication administration
  • Assessment and management of pain, chronic illness, or other support 

What Skills Do Home Healthcare Aides Perform?

Home healthcare aides provide a variety of activities of daily living in the home. Along with these services, you’ll provide companionship, light housekeeping, and give family caregivers necessary time off. Some of the skills you will perform include:

  • Personal care activities, like bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting
  • Planning, preparing, serving, and assisting with meals
  • Light housekeeping, such as washing dishes, changing bed linens, and laundry
  • Proving transportation to medical appointments
  • Grocery shopping
  • Monitoring, documenting, and reporting any changes in the client’s condition
  • Reminding the client when to take medications
  • Providing safety reminders during transfers, bathing, and ambulation

Is a Career in Home Healthcare Right for You?

The jump from working in a skilled nursing facility to home healthcare can be a bit scary. You’re used to having help right around the corner and having total control over the environment. But, if you’re ready for something new, you may be feeling up for the challenge.

 Here are seven signs home healthcare might be just what the doctor ordered.

You Enjoy Working Independently

When you work in a skilled nursing facility, you’re just a tiny part of a large healthcare team. However, when you work in home healthcare, you’ll enjoy a new level of independence that allows you to develop your clinical skills even more. You’ll still have the support of a team that includes nurses, doctors, therapists, and office staff, but they’ll be much further away. This distance means you’ll have to use critical thinking skills to figure out some things independently, especially when an emergency happens.

You Want to Work One-on-One

Providing care in a skilled nursing facility means you’ll provide care to 10 or more residents at once. Home healthcare allows you to deliver care to one patient at a time. However, you may be assigned to see six or more clients daily, so there could be significant travel. Most home healthcare caseloads allow you to give one-on-one care without feeling pulled in multiple directions. 

You Have Stellar Time Management Skills

Time management skills are critical for home healthcare aides. For example, you’ll be driving from one client to another and need to consider different routes. Home healthcare aides also plan all assigned care tasks and visits to provide care in the most efficient way possible. Some visits may need to happen at a specific time, while others can be done whenever they fit into your schedule. Possessing time management skills and keen decision-making sets you up for success.

You’re Dependable and Responsible

Your home healthcare clients will depend heavily on you and the care you provide. For some, your visit might be the only time they see another person all week or get a bath. They might rely on your services for meal preparation and cleaning they can’t do independently. Calling off or not being on time can put your client at risk of falls or other problems. So, be sure you can work the required hours before you accept a home healthcare job.

You Love Thinking Outside the Box

Clients live at home with severe acute and chronic health conditions that require complex care. Home healthcare challenges you to provide care in small spaces without fancy equipment. You might also have to work around pets, family members, and the limited resources of your clients. 

You’re a Proactive Worker

If you like waiting for someone to give you instructions for the day, home healthcare might not be the right choice for you. Instead, you’ll need to dive right in and provide care by going off the individualized plan of care created by the nurse for your clients. You’ll have support from the team, but no one will be there to help you make quick decisions. So, thinking on your feet when things get challenging is essential to providing quality care. 

You Want Out of the Clinical Environment

Long-term care facilities provide an excellent clinical environment when starting your CNA career. However, many caregivers find it’s not where they want to spend their entire career. Home care might be the answer. You’ll get to meet the client where they are, in their natural environment. 

While leaving the facility environment has benefits, it also has other things to consider. You’ll need to adjust to the client and their family’s rules, behaviors, culture, and tastes. You’ll be in their home, meaning you’re a guest and must follow their wishes. You will become a team with the client and their family members too. So, you must be able to work with people of all kinds to be successful in home healthcare. 

You have several years of experience as a caregiver under your belt. As you look at new opportunities, you wonder if working as a home care CNA in home health might be a good fit for you. You’ve met some home care aides who love it and others who say they couldn’t get back to a facility fast enough. 

So, what will be your experience? Let’s explore the ins and outs of home care and a few things you need to know before you make the change. 

What is Home Health Care Anyway?

Home health care offers a wide range of health care services for chronic and acute illnesses or injuries. All services are offered in the home of the client, making the care more convenient and less expensive than in the hospital or skilled nursing facilities. Most home care services are covered by insurance and must be overseen by a nurse or physical therapist.

Many people think home health care is easier to provide and less complicated to deliver. However, with rising healthcare costs and shorter hospital stays, patients go home quicker and sicker. This healthcare trend means home care patients require highly skilled and complex care. A few of the nursing services patients might receive in the home include:

  • Wound care
  • Ostomy care
  • IV therapy with fluid or medications
  • Medication administration
  • Assessment and management of pain, chronic illness, or other support 

What Skills Do Home Healthcare Aides Perform?

Home healthcare aides provide a variety of activities of daily living in the home. Along with these services, you’ll provide companionship, light housekeeping, and give family caregivers important time off. Some of the skills you will perform include:

  • Personal care activities, like bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting
  • Planning, preparing, serving, and assisting with meals
  • Light housekeeping, such as washing dishes, changing bed linens, and laundry
  • Proving transportation to medical appointments
  • Grocery shopping
  • Monitoring, documenting, and reporting any changes in the client’s condition
  • Reminding the client when to take medications
  • Providing safety reminders during transfers, bathing, and ambulation

Is a Career in Home Healthcare Right for You?

The jump from working in a skilled nursing facility to home healthcare can be a bit scary. You’re used to having help right around the corner and having total control over the environment. But, if you’re ready for something new, you may be feeling up for the challenge.

 Here are seven signs home healthcare might be just what the doctor ordered.

You Enjoy Working Independently

When you work in a skilled nursing facility, you’re just a small part of a large healthcare team. However, when you work in home healthcare, you’ll enjoy a new level of independence that gives you the ability to develop your clinical skills even more. You’ll still have the support of a team that includes nurses, doctors, therapists, and office staff, but they’ll be much further away. This distance means you’ll have to use critical thinking skills to figure out some things on your own, especially when an emergency happens.

You Want to Work One-on-One

Providing care in a skilled nursing facility means you’ll have your shift split between 10 or more residents. However, home healthcare allows you to deliver care to one patient at a time. It’s important to know you may be assigned to see six or more clients in a day, so there could be some significant travel. Most home healthcare caseloads give you the opportunity to give one-on-one care and not feel quite so pulled in multiple directions at one time. 

You Have Stellar Time Management Skills

Time management skills are critical for home healthcare aides. You’ll be driving from one client to another and need to consider different routes. Home healthcare aides also plan all assigned care tasks and visits to provide care in the most efficient way possible. Some visits may need to happen at a specific time, while others can be done whenever they fit into your schedule. Possessing time management skills and keen decision-making allows you to be as successful as possible.

You’re Dependable and Responsible

Your home healthcare clients will depend heavily on you and the care you provide. For some of them, your visit might be the only time they see another person all week or get a bath. They might rely on your services for meal preparation and cleaning they can’t do on their own. Calling off or not being on time can put your client at risk of falls or other problems.

You Love Thinking Outside the Box

Clients live at home with serious acute and chronic health conditions that require complex care. You’ll be challenged with providing care in small spaces that aren’t equipped like a hospital or skilled nursing facility. You might also have to work around pets, family members, and the limited resources of your clients. 

You’re a Proactive Worker

If you like waiting for someone to give you instructions for the day, home healthcare might not be the right choice for you. You’ll need to dive right in and provide care by going off the individualized plan of care created by the nurse for your clients. You’ll have support from the team, but no one will be there to help you make quick decisions. So, being able to think on your feet when things get challenging is essential to providing quality home healthcare aide services. 

You Want Out of the Clinical Environment

Long-term care facilities provide an excellent clinical environment when you’re first starting out as a CNA. But, many caregivers find that it’s not where they want to spend their entire career. Home care might be the answer. You’ll get to meet the client where they are, in their natural environment - their home. 

While leaving the facility environment has benefits, it also comes with other things to consider. You’ll need to adjust to the client and their family’s rules, behaviors, culture, and tastes. You’ll be in their home, meaning you’re a guest and must follow their wishes. You will become a team with the client and their family members too. So, you must be able to work with people of all kinds to be successful in home healthcare. 

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