Choosing the right nurse for in-home care can be a daunting task. With a stranger coming into your home to care for your loved ones, finding someone qualified, trustworthy, and a good fit is crucial.
The demand for in-home nursing care is increasing as the population ages and more people want to receive care in the comfort of their homes. The in-home healthcare industry will grow by over 20% in the next decade.
However, finding and hiring the perfect nurse takes research and due diligence. Rushing to hire an unqualified or unsuitable nurse can jeopardize the health and safety of your family members. Below are some tips on thoroughly vetting nurses and making the best choice for in-home care.
Skills and Certifications
The first thing to look for is proper licensing and nursing credentials. An in-home nurse should have a current RN (registered nurse) license in your state. You can verify their license through your state’s Board of Nursing. Nurses with more advanced degrees, like a BSN (bachelor’s of science in nursing) or MSN (master’s of science in nursing), have a higher level of education and training.
Make sure any certifications match the care you need, such as wound care certification or geriatric nursing certification. Checking skills, education level, and certifications ensures your nurse is qualified to provide adequate medical care.
If you’re a nurse, considering the qualities people want in their in-home caregivers, it’s worth considering advanced degrees. The RN to MSN program allows nurses to quickly get a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in nursing. And now, with online options available, you can earn these degrees flexibly. An online RN to MSN program boosts your skills and makes you a top choice for home nursing roles.
Scope of Nursing Care
Each nurse will have different strengths and specialties, so make sure their skills align with your needs. Ask what types of care they have experience with – such as trauma, chronic conditions, physical disabilities, dementia, etc.
If your loved one needs specialized care like ventilator assistance or IV medications, find a nurse comfortable performing those skills. Communicate what duties you expect the nurse to handle, from personal hygiene to administering medications and accompanying the patient to doctor’s visits.
Defining the scope early prevents confusion.
Finances and Costs
In-home nursing care is an ongoing expense, so get all financial estimates in writing. Hourly rates, minimum hours per week, overtime fees, and mileage reimbursements should all be clearly defined. Also, ask about insurance – some agencies accept long-term care insurance or other private insurance plans.
If paying privately, see if rates can be negotiated based on hours needed. Make sure you understand payment schedules and all costs before signing any contracts.
Excellent communication skills are vital since an in-home nurse will work closely with you and your family. During interviews, note how well the nurse listens, answers questions, and explains things. Do they speak too quickly or use too much medical jargon?
A friendly demeanor and patience are ideal for bedside manner. Also, look for someone who communicates well with doctors and other healthcare providers.
Consider your schedule needs when assessing a nurse’s availability. Do you need full-time care or certain hours covered? What about weekends or holidays? Know when the nurse is on call or uses a substitute if they cannot make a scheduled shift. Having coverage reliably when you need it is crucial. Also, discuss backup plans for emergencies or nurse illness.
Running thorough background checks provides peace of mind when hiring in-home help. At a minimum, you should verify references and confirm nursing licenses are valid and in good standing.
For greater screening, have candidates agree to criminal background checks and drug testing. While not foolproof, background screening reduces the chances of hiring someone with a concerning history.
Since the nurse will be in your home frequently, finding someone whose company you enjoy is helpful. During initial interviews, get a feel for the applicant’s personality and see if it meshes well with you and your family.
While a caring, compassionate, and kind demeanor is important, look for calm nurses under pressure, display good judgment, and have a sense of humor. Hiring someone you get along with makes the experience more pleasant for everyone.
Make sure the nurse’s care philosophy matches your expectations. Are they accustomed to following rigid schedules or more flexible? Do they prefer lots of communication or minimal updates? Discuss your preferences and find out if they are comfortable providing care in the way you envision.
Checking a nurse’s references helps determine work ethic, reliability, and bedside manner. Speak to recent clients the nurse cared for and ask how they performed. Get examples of the nurse’s compassion, judgment calls, communication style, and dependability. Candid references from previous clients provide the best sense of what to expect when hiring a nurse.
Trust Your Instincts
In the end, trust your gut instincts during the interview process. Notice how the nurse interacts with your loved one. Do they seem warm, patient, and attentive? You will likely understand who will be the right fit to welcome into your home. Don’t ignore red flags just because a candidate looks good on paper. Your intuition will guide you to make the best choice.
Taking the time to vet candidates thoroughly leads to hiring the ideal nurse for your situation. While the process requires diligence and patience, finding the perfect fit provides significant peace of mind. With proper qualifications, specialty training, and a personality that meshes well, you can ensure your family member receives attentive and professional in-home care.
Choosing an in-home nurse to care for your loved one is an important decision that requires careful consideration. These tips will help you feel confident that you are making the best choice. Trust your instincts during the interview to find a nurse matching your family’s needs. Taking the time upfront to find the perfect nurse will provide comfort and peace of mind, knowing your loved one is receiving attentive and professional care in your home.