COVID-19 is continuing to challenge the healthcare industry, national economy, and basic human socialization in unprecedented ways.
With healthcare workers at the forefront of these challenges, their preferences for their work environments are beginning to shift. The rate of nurses leaving the profession is rapidly increasing. Hospital IQ surveyed 200 nurses and found that 90% are considering leaving the profession — 71% of those nurses reported at least 15 years of experience. Rather than leaving the profession altogether, nurses should consider the benefits of home health care positions compared to working in the hospital environment.
Home Healthcare Benefits for Nurses
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that home care expenditures are expected to reach $201B by 2028, a 73% increase from 2020. This increase in funds will allow nurses to easily transition from intense hospital environments to individualized home care settings.
Since the onset of the pandemic, nurse to patient ratios have drastically increased to dangerous levels. This overload is just one of the many new challenges for nurses presented by the pandemic. Nurses shifting to home health care can avoid bureaucratic obstacles common in hospital settings and focus solely on their patients.
Home care allows nurses to provide high-quality, individualized care and have more autonomy in one-on-one settings. Schedules can be more flexible and customized to best fit the needs of the patient as well as the nurse. Physically, home health care is less demanding on nurses which can be a great transition for beleaguered nurses used to working 12-hour shifts with little to no breaks.
Nurses working in the home healthcare can more easily see the fruits of their labor. Patients are able to demonstrate their progress by completing daily, household tasks all thanks to the hard work and dedication of their home health nurse. This adds a uniquely fulfilling experience for nurses which can be not as common in many hospital settings.
Home Healthcare Benefits for Patients
COVID-19 not only changed the hospital environment for nurses — it drastically changed for patients as well as increased fear of hospitals became common. Individuals who were sick or injured during the initial stages of the pandemic were less likely to go hospitals to seek care in fear of contracting the virus.
A research study conducted by NEJM Catalyst showed that during the onset of the pandemic, emergency room visits declined by nearly 50%. This shifting view of hospitals and healthcare at large has resulted in patients, especially elderly ones, preferring to receive care in the comfort of their own homes.
For the elderly, entering the hospital poses several risks including a higher chance of falling and contracting illnesses due to exposure. Approximately 700,000 to a million people fall in hospitals each year in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. More than one-third of these falls result in serious injuries like fractures and head trauma.
Entering the hospital or a nursing home long-term poses both physical and mental risks. A research study found that approximately 20% of all nursing home residents have major depression (about 350,000 people in the U.S.), and an additional 30% have significant depressive symptoms. Home healthcare can more easily spare them from several these physical and emotional risks. With Medicare and Medicaid reform adding expenditures for home healthcare, nurses can rekindle their love for nursing in a less stressful environment while making an immense impact on the lives of their patients.
Transitioning to Home Healthcare
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that home healthcare is one of America’s fastest-growing industries, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 5% for 2014–2024, which equals approximately 760,400 new jobs.
While the pandemic is still presenting unprecedented challenges, the increased awareness of the benefits of home healthcare is a beacon in the healthcare industry during this difficult time. Home healthcare nursing can be the pathway for nurses facing burnout.
Consider this course to learn more about home health nursing:
Becoming a Home Health Nurse
(2.5 contact hours)
According to the statistics and projections from the National Bureau of Labor and the Health Resources and Services Administration, the need for nurses skilled at providing care to patients in their homes is growing. This is a good time to consider a career in home health nursing. This course provides nurses with information about home health nursing practice, so nurses can determine if home health nursing is a good career choice for them. The rewards, challenges, required skills, regulations, and agency types of home health nursing are reviewed.