Nursing the At-Home Patient: Special Considerations

Nursing the At-Home Patient: Special Considerations

If you’re taking care of a patient in their own home, you’ll quickly realize that things aren’t like they used to be. The predictability of the hospital is no more, and it’s up to you to deliver the best care possible in a changing environment. Being an at-home nurse means being flexible and wearing multiple hats at once. Your relationship with the patient may change now that you’re in a private setting, and your duties and responsibilities will likely change as well. Keep these special considerations in mind as you take care of the at-home patient.

Work with What You Have

You never know when something might take a turn for the worst when caring for an at-home patient. Some piece of equipment might arrive late, there might be miscommunication between you and the hospital, or an outside force could ruin your work schedule for the day. Whatever the case may be, you have to make do with what you have and improvise as a caregiver. You might have to use household furniture or random objects to get through your routine if certain items aren’t available.

Be Flexible

Being flexible is an absolute must when it comes to working outside the hospital. You don’t have the same guarantees that come with a heavy regulated workspace. You’ll need to adapt your routine to your new environment, which might mean operating out of your comfort zone. The patient will know their home inside and out, so you’ll need to learn to go with the flow and take a back seat to the patient’s needs and concerns.

Keep Things Organized

Working outside of the hospital can lead to chaos and disorder if you’re not paying attention. Instead of depending on your colleagues to keep things organized and working like a cog in a much larger machine, you will be the only person that’s responsible for keeping things neat and organized when it comes to healthcare supplies and equipment. You can control everything the patient does or every aspect of their home, but you can do your part to make the space as functional as possible.

Stay Vigilant

Security can be a major concern when you’re caring for an at-home patient. You might have to work in a bad neighborhood or deal with unruly guests throughout the day. In addition to your duties as a healthcare provider, you need to keep your eyes out for anything that could endanger you or the patient. Hopefully, this won’t be too much of a concern, but things likely won’t be as predictable as they used to be.

Taking care of an at-home patient can be a rewarding and challenging experience for nurses. It all depends on whom you’re caring for and what kind of environment they live in. Tell us about your experience caring for an at-home patient in the comments below!