Home Care and Hospice: Extraordinary Care By Extraordinary People

America's growing population of older Americans (from 15 percent of the total population today to 20 percent by 2030) amplifies the need for increased variety in medical care options. As leaders both inside and outside the medical community work to meet the burgeoning demand, Axxess is proud to celebrate National Home Care & Hospice Month and the work being done by millions of caregivers. I am writing about why many find providing care in the home so rewarding, and my colleague Zaundra Ellis in the near future will write about the special rewards for hospice workers.

People prefer to receive care in their own home. It's where people are most comfortable, where they have the greatest choice in their care, and the care costs significantly less than in a hospital setting. Another factor in making home the venue of choice for care is the extraordinary work done by caregivers.

Whether working as a home health nurse or aide, Bayada Home Health shared 10 reasons why home health workers find it meaningful. Six of the 10 reasons are intangible, ranging from "a personally rewarding career" to "the privilege of making a difference."

10 Reasons Home Caregivers Find Their Work Meaningful

  • The privilege of making a difference. A career in home health care allows a caregiver to truly make a difference in the lives of clients and their families. Home health professionals enjoy the personal relationships they build and the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing they are enhancing an individual's quality of life.
  • The ease of a flexible schedule. Home health care nurses and aides work as much or as little as they wish, making a career in home health perfect for compassionate people at any stage of life. Whether pursuing education, raising a family, returning to the workforce, or a person is semi-retired, home health offers rewarding part-time and full-time job opportunities to fit any schedule, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The comfort of companionship for those who need it. Numerous studies have shown that socially isolated older adults often feel lonely and depressed, are less physically active, and may be subject to high blood pressure. Home health care professionals can provide social interaction and companionship. The specific health benefits of such meaningful relationships can include lower blood pressure, reduced risk for mental health issues, and reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular problems, and other conditions. Both clients and caregivers cite the personal rewards of these important relationships.
  • The opportunity to make life more manageable for clients of all ages. Most of us take our ability to manage activities of daily living for granted. But for those who have disabilities or injuries, and aging adults, daily tasks such as grooming, bathing, toileting, eating and mobility may pose special challenges. A job in home health care affords caregivers the opportunity to do meaningful work every day by helping clients manage their activities of daily living in the comfort of homes.
  • The ability to deliver complex care at home. Infants, children, and adults with wounds, injuries, or chronic conditions, and individuals who depend on high-technology medical equipment for nutrition and respiration, all depend on home health care professionals for daily support. Nurses working in home health make it possible for their clients to avoid institutionalization in a hospital or facility, and relieve the burden of care for their clients' families.
  • Being able to help clients remain comfortable at home. When competent, reliable family caregiving is unavailable, families often face the unhappy prospect of institutionalizing loved ones who require support or complex medical care, or who are no longer able to care safely for themselves. Home healthcare providers change lives by helping their clients to remain safe and comfortable in their own homes and communities.
  • On-going growth and professional development. A career in home health offers opportunities for professional growth in a rewarding field. Professional caregivers will continue to benefit from a supportive environment that nurtures career development with many options for training and access to leading-edge technologies, as well as supervision and defined paths for advancement.
  • The ability to specialize skills. Home healthcare can enable caregivers to focus skills in a specialized practice. Whether they are inspired by the idea of helping new parents bring their infant with complex medical needs home from the hospital or reduce hospital visits for adults with special needs, home care can be specialized to make the work even more rewarding.
  • High demand for home health care jobs. America is bracing for an aging population. According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, by 2030 there will be 72.1 million persons 65 years or older-more than twice the number found in 2000-representing 19% of all Americans. As the "baby boomers" age, the need for qualified home health care professionals will continue to grow, ensuring a strong demand for nursing and home health jobs.
  • A personally rewarding career. The majority of nurses and aides working in home health care report a deep sense of fulfillment and job satisfaction. While other jobs may offer some comparable benefits, not many offer home health's potent combination of flexible schedules, career growth, and-most importantly-the opportunity to do meaningful work that changes lives, families, and communities.

Americans are living longer lives. And as more Americans age, the need for care also increases. We are proud to celebrate those whose life's work is to improve care in the home - whether to improve a patient's health or provide compassionate care at the end of their life. Stay tuned for Zaundra Ellis' blog on the special rewards of providing hospice care.