Understanding Home Care: Registered Nurses

Finding the right type of home health care caregiver for yourself or your loved one may be overwhelming, and sometimes it’s just confusing. Many are unsure of what type of home care is available to them, what insurance will pay for and what each type of professional does and does not do. However, it’s important to have an idea about these questions in order to make the best-informed decision you can for your whole family.


Home care is when a professional enters your home to help you or your loved one with any medical or non-medical needs. A professional might be a home health care aide, a homemaker or a registered nurse. Home health aides and homemakers more frequently attend to non-medical needs, while a registered nurse will more frequently attend to medical needs. In some instances, using a registered nurse may also be referred to as skilled home care. Some agencies may only be able to provide home health care aides or homemakers, while others will provide the range of caregivers from registered nurses to homemakers.


A registered nurse will help care for any open wounds, manage medications or administer IV medications. A registered nurse will have attended college and sat for board certification in order to practice. Registered nurse care is typically covered by Medicare if the care is deemed necessary in order to keep your loved one at home. This may also include teaching and training, assessment and observation or palliative care, sometimes known as hospice.


Registered nurses are also able to assess and manage patients who have tracheostomies, are on ventilators or are receiving nutrition through a feeding tube. Nurses are necessary for catheter management and respiratory and cardiac monitoring. A registered nurse will work together with your physician to update them on status changes and consult with your physician on changes to any medication or treatment. Most registered nurses are also capable of drawing blood, so if your loved one requires health-related testing, they may not have to leave home if an agency sends a registered nurse.


While not usually part of their job description, registered nurses may also perform some non-medical tasks when in your loved one’s home. They may also do a patient health history and counsel you and their patient on specific rehabilitation needs or nutritional needs to support medical care. Educating patients and developing treatment plans are a big part of the responsibilities of a registered nurse in your home. These two things help to keep your loved one home and out of a hospital.


Registered nurses are also responsible for managing medical care administered by home health care aides. Although your loved one may normally receive care from a health care aide, you may occasionally see a registered nurse who will assess your loved one’s care and treatments to determine if changes may be necessary or the physician needs to be notified. A registered nurse may also assist you or your loved one with accepting any current diagnosis or informing you of potential changes you may see in your loved one as time moves forward.


Do You Need a Registered Nurse?

The level of care needed at home to keep your loved one safe and comfortable is often determined by a case manager in collaboration with your physician. If you have questions about the different levels of care available to your loved one or which is best for your individual needs, contact us today. At Anodyne, we are committed to providing you and your family with the best care possible.