When your elderly loved one is living at home and requires nursing care, you may wonder if a home health nurse could meet their needs. Nurses often care for seniors in their homes for a variety of reasons such as when they return from a prolonged hospital stay, receive a recent medical diagnosis, undergo surgery or sustain an injury.
What is Skilled Nursing?
If your parent requires skilled nursing care, this means they need a licensed nurse to help treat a physical or cognitive medical condition. Certain treatments can only be carried out by nurses who are licensed and trained appropriately. While some patients may need to stay in a skilled nursing facility after being released from the hospital, others can benefit from skilled nursing care inside their home.
What is a Home Health Nurse?
A home health nurse can make it possible for your senior parent to get the medical care they require but in the familiar, comfortable surroundings of home. In-home registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can provide your loved one with skilled nursing care and medical observation on a daily or intermittent level.
Home health nurses are skilled at tending to the medical needs of seniors without sacrificing independent living. Depending on your loved one’s medical condition, an in-home nurse may be sought to provide the following services and others:
- Help with stroke recovery
- Dementia care
- Diabetes care
- Colostomy care
- Respiratory care
- Medication review and education
- Symptom management and pain control
- Tube feedings
- Wound care and changing of complex wound dressings
- Care for catheters and drains
- Monitoring changes in health status
- Monitoring and treatment for acute medical conditions (injury, illness, infection)
- Intravenous or nutrition therapy
- IV lines (starting, maintaining, discontinuing)
- Caregiver education
- Care coordination with medical professionals, including physicians
Does Your Parent Need In-Home Skilled Nursing Care?
While a home health nurse may not be right for every senior patient, it’s important to understand the signs that your parent could benefit from in-home skilled nursing assistance. Here are just some common ways to know if a home health nurse could be beneficial:
1) Your Parent Was Recently Diagnosed with a Medical Condition
If your loved one has been diagnosed with a new medical condition such as dementia or diabetes or suffered from a medical emergency such as a stroke or heart attack, a nurse may be able to help them recover at home or monitor changes in their health. Once your parent is feeling on the mend, an in-home nurse can also teach them self-monitoring techniques and the appropriate times to take their new medications.
2) They Are Unable to Leave Their Home to Seek Care
Once your elderly parent returns after a hospital stay, their condition may not allow them to leave their home for a period of time. A home health nurse can come directly to your loved one’s home to perform any necessary medical therapies; whether your parent is recovering from an acute illness, has recently had surgery, or requires long-term or palliative care for an ongoing medical condition.
3) Their Spouse is Unable to Care for Their Medical Needs
As your married parents age in their home, they eventually won’t have the capacity or knowledge to care for each other’s medical needs. While one parent may be healthy and confident living at home, the other may need to seek ongoing treatment for a medical condition. When this happens, it can make sense to seek care from a home health nurse rather than sending both parents to a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. The nurse will simply tend to the needs of the ailing patient allowing both parents to enjoy living at home.
4) Your Loved One’s Condition Has Worsened
The medical needs of aging parents tend to change as time passes. For example, if your parent has been diagnosed with dementia, they may have a mild form that can be managed with your help or the assistance of a hired senior companion. But, if you or your parent’s caregiver notices that their medical condition has worsened, or a more serious ailment has come to light, it could be a sign that it’s time to transition their in-home care to the capable hands of a skilled home health nurse.
Hire a Home Health Nurse for Your Elderly Parent
When searching for in-home skilled nursing services for your loved one, it’s important to choose a reputable home health care provider that employs only registered or licensed nurses. Doing so will ensure that your parent receives the best medical care possible as they age at home. Contact us today for a home health care assessment.