The aging of the U.S. population – 10,000 Americans turn 65 everyday – is leading to a rapid increase in the amount of money Americans spend on health care every year. And while hospitals and HMOs are continuing to expand in order to accommodate an increasing number of patients on site, advances in medical care options are allowing more patients to receive treatment in their homes than ever before. These home treatment options, while not yet at critical mass, are nevertheless offering nurses the opportunity to perform house visits.
Industry organizations, such as the Visiting Nurse Association of New York, are working diligently to spread the word about nurse house calls. The trend comes as medical science has focused on patient wellness in recent years, focusing on boosting the patients’ attitudes relating to their physical conditions as a part of treating their illnesses.
Many healthcare professionals have found that patients tend to have overall better mental states when treated in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to when being treated in the sometimes sterile environments encountered in traditional health care facilities across the country.
Home care nurses are equipped with many of the same resources that would be found in a hospital or clinic, and interact with patients and doctors in innovative ways. For example, many nurses carry laptops that store patient medical records and medical histories, and use digital cameras to take high definition photographs of wounds and injuries that can be immediately shared with the patient’s doctor. Additionally, nurses use technology such as health care monitors to keep track of patients’ vital signs.
Many experts have publicly worried about the nation’s ability to serve the millions of seniors that will require extensive medical services in the coming years and decades. Home care nursing will not be the only solution to these concerns, but will likely attract nurses into the healthcare field that may have been put off by the thought of working in a hospital. As such, home care nursing could prove to be an excellent way to recruit fresh faces into an industry that desperately needs new talent.