Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that the population of the United States is aging. Soon the “greatest generation” will be a reverent memory and the “baby boomers” will be in full retirement mode. This will place a significant increase in demand on our health care system. The resources of our hospitals and medical clinics will be even more stretched, forcing them to become less personalized and more institutional in dealing with you, the patient. This can be a negative factor for people wishing to have a health care career. They often seek alternate health care models which allow a more personal delivery–in the home.
A significant portion of our most promising heath care professionals are selecting careers in a home health agency. The increasing interest in this career path has much to do with the ability of the health care provider to establish a more personal and rewarding relationship with the patient.
“Working in a home health agency offers some very significant advantages over a hospital or clinic setting,” explained Maria Bushebi, Manager of Private Duty for Family Home Care and Hospice, located in Spokane, WA. “Seeing a patient in a home setting allows a nurse or home health aide the time to develop a relationship with the patient, observe the progress of care and make recommendations that may escape the attention of a hospital or clinic based professional. Plus, it’s much easier in our system to follow the progress of care and that’s a major part of our job satisfaction.”
With more than 250 employees, Family Home Care and Hospice is the largest privately owned home health agency in the Inland Northwest. Michael Nowling, company president, is very much aware of the challenges of running a health care business today.
One of the biggest difficulties of running a health care business is staffing,” explained Nowling. “We have great success in recruiting high quality candidates because they are the type of people who are interested in working in a system which emphasizes personal attention and interaction.”
Not only do home health workers experience greater job satisfaction, but they also have greater flexibility in their work schedules than do clinic or hospital based professionals. As a result, a home health agency is an ideal situation for workers with families. The scheduling options allow them to be available for family or other obligations.
“The environment at agencies like Family Home Care is perfect for employees with families,” noted Bushebi. “We have regular work hours and can even arrange our schedules so that things like parent-teacher conferences or dental appointments for the kids can be accomplished without much difficulty. The ability to be flexible is a great benefit.”
Bushebi observes that many home health agencies are increasingly being staffed by more mature workers. These are often people who have raised their families and are looking for a job that will give them a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
“These workers gravitate to the home health system,” continued Bushebi. “The home environment is familiar to them and they can gain a significant sense of accomplishment and gratitude as they work with patients and see them improve.”
Home health agencies are also attracting more health professionals from hospitals and clinics because advances in technologies have allowed many of the cutting-edge therapies and techniques to be practiced in the home.
“Health professionals don’t have to worry any longer that they’re leaving behind the technical knowledge they accumulated working with high-tech medical equipment or state of the art procedures,” Bushebi added. “Much of this experience and technology can now be used in a home environment, so they can have the best of both worlds. They can keep up on the latest developments in their field and have fulfilling patient interactions.”
Licenses and certifications are necessary for workers in home health. Training programs which result in licensing for Nursing Assistants are offered by most of the community colleges across the nation and are not expensive. In addition, home care agencies like Family Home Care will often pay for workers to receive this training.
Whether you’re just beginning your health care career or are looking to re-enter the workforce, a career in home health will give you the ideal combination of traditional patient care values and cutting-edge technological advances. “Based on my experience at Family Home Care and Hospice,” Bushebi concludes, “I would say that a home health career offers everything that a health care worker would want in a rewarding career.”