The field of home health care is expanding at a rapid rate as healthcare reforms have changed the focus for care delivery. Healthcare providers are shifting more care to home and outpatient-based facilities in an effort to avoid hospital stays. Home health workers, from home health aides to physical and respiratory therapists, are in demand all across the country. Home health workers can be self-employed contractors who have business agreements with insurance companies or other stakeholders or they can work for a home health agency. Home health jobs generally offer more flexibility than other types of career arrangements.
Depending on the profession, a home health worker can expect to do these tasks on a daily basis:
Assess the patient's home for potential dangers
Evaluate the patient's condition
Administer medications as ordered by the physician or monitor the patient's compliance with home medications
Perform any therapies or treatments as ordered by the healthcare provider
Carefully document every patient encounter
Change dressings and evaluate any wounds or surgical incisions
Bathe the patient and assist with feeding and mobility
Answer questions and counsel the patient and any family members
Develop ongoing care plans
The daily tasks of a home health worker vary greatly depending on the medical specialty of the worker. Physical therapy jobs are very popular home health positions, as are case management nurses.
Home Health Job Education Requirements
The education requirements for home health workers depend on the position. Most home health aides have a high school diploma and complete a short certification program. Therapy aides typically complete a two-year associate degree program. Home health nurses are often RNs with a four-year bachelor's degree. Other therapists complete educational programs that can last five years or more.
Home Health Job Market
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an astonishing 48 percent increase in demand for home health workers over the next decade, one of the highest of all careers. This is likely due to the changes written in the healthcare reform law.
Home Health Job Salary Information
The median annual salary for home health aides was $20,820 in 2012, with the top 10 percent of earners making just over $29,000. The median annual salary for home health nurses was $72,304 in 2014, with the top 10 percent of earners making $87,638. The median salary for home health physical therapists was $79,095 in 2014, with the top 10 percent of earners making $88,966.