The job of a home health nurse is to visit patients in their homes.
Therefore, when working in such an unpredictable work setting, home health nurses can face plenty of challenges that must overcome to be able to provide the best care to the patient.
Patient Home Conditions
Because a home health nurse goes directly to the patient home, he or she has no control over the condition of a home.
Home Health Nurses treat a variety of patients, those are cannot care for themself, those who lack family support or those without any resources.
Working in an untidy home is common for home health nurses, as they treat the patients in their home environment.
The house structure can be an obstacle sometimes, as some patients require safety equipment, which can lack in some homes.
For example, the bathroom can be small and a wheelchair won’t fit or there would be necessary holders for the people with issues in movement.
All these conditions are a safety risk because the improper transfer can lead to the patient or even nurse injuries.
A home health nurse should always identify safety concerns and report then to the home health agency.
Needle Stick Injuries
The common task for home health nurses is to administer injection or IV infusion.
Some patients don’t have access to sharps containers where a nurse can safely dispose of needles.
It is common for nurses to walk a certain distance to safely dispose of the needle, or to recap the needle if there is no access to safe disposal.
In that case, the lack of safe disposal can result in needlestick injuries.
When confused or an angry patient gets upset with having a stranger in their home, he or she can become violent.
The most common causes of violence towards home health nurses are seen with dementia-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
The risk for violent attack increases if the nurse must perform certain procedures that a patient may understand as aggressive, such as wound care, injections, or laboratory draws.
There is no access to additional staff, like in hospitals, and the nurse might be alone if the comes to the escalation of the confrontation with a patient.
That is why a nurse must always check their safety and surrounding, stay calm, and always report any suspicious activity or safety issues.