GUEST POST: How to Turn a Home Care Stint into a Career?

Right from the start- here’s the fact: the Baby Boomers are getting older, and the home care market is booming as well.

If we look at the number more closely, the home care market is going to more almost triple in five years, due to the growing number of the seniors, and a significant shortage of health workers in the US- amounting to half a million, as predicted by 2025.

Yes, the market is growing steadily, but you cannot work in that field just because it’s lucrative.

Take this seriously: not everyone can deal with the type of stress this job brings. You have to like working with people- not only patients but their families as well. Compassion and empathy have to be your top qualities.

It can also be physically challenging as well. The patients might be confused and disoriented, fearful or depressed, even aggressive. Some days you will only change bedpans. And you’ll also work shifts. Weekends and holidays included.

Senior care- the gist

You’re going to assist people who aren’t able to live on their own, who have a difficult time caring for themselves, typically due to the diseases and chronic illnesses and physical or mental disabilities usually go hand in hand with age.

It’s important to learn skills regarding personal care, nutrition, housekeeping, and home management. Also, you might want to learn about legal issues and ethics. The higher the level of education you have, the higher you’ll be paid. Meaning that the next stage is learning about drug administration.

What is quite different from working in a hospital where you are dedicated to multiple patients, sometimes simultaneously, is a one-on-one approach.

Although it might be easier to have a whole team behind you, with a lot of colleagues that can jump in and offer a quick insight with emergencies, working alone with a single patient means more personal connection, to both the patient and their family. Therefore, it’s way more rewarding.

Also, it means you have to be extremely confident in your capabilities.

We mentioned the family-nurse communication: it’s very important because your business will only grow if your clients feel heard and respected. On top of that, you’ll need to be able to be effective, yet empathetic when talking about your patient’s condition, their disease, and prognosis.

It won’t hurt to repeat: if you’re certain that this highly gratifying, yet stressful and demanding job is the right fit for you, and you love dealing with people and cherish the idea of changing someone’s life while helping them, your altruistic personality is the single most important requirement for success in this field. Then comes trustworthiness. And a cool attitude.

Education

So the first specific step is to get the appropriate education. Usually, it’s a high school diploma, after which you’ll need a certificate. Remember, certificate holders are in for a lot of job opportunities, the demand is truly high nowadays.

Then find a job for training purposes, under the supervision of professional nurses. Get the grips, then apply for a license, for which you’ll need that high school diploma, most likely a certificate, and experience. Check, check, check!

But, what are the specific requirements education-wise?

If you wish to be on the refund list of Medicare or Medicaid, you have to go through formal training, otherwise, you won’t be.

You’ll have to enroll in a one-semester long program preceded by physical and blood tests, and a mandatory background check. Also, you need a CPR certification. There are various aspects covered by the program: you learn how to keep an infectious disease under check, but also some knowledge on how to work with people in need of emotional or other support. When done, the next step is the state competency examination.

After that, just keep up attending different updated courses to stay on top of your game.

Want to be an entrepreneur?

The same criteria apply- altruism and endless patience. “This industry draws people who are driven by compassion and desire to care for their fellow man. It’s a great industry and there is money to be made but you need that drive to help people. If you don’t have that compassion, this is not the business for you”. Also, if you dread technology, move on. This is the area where you’ll need to employ a lot of high-tech devices and apps. Moreover, this job is usually done in isolation, so consider this as well. And long-distance travel.

Ok…Congratulations! You’ve found the niche that not only suits your character, but it’s becoming very profitable, globally. The downside is that you’re going to have a lot of competition, so brace yourself for a thorough market and competition research.

One thing is for sure, people want to be independent, that’s why they’ll choose a live in personal assistant or home care over a hospital, sometimes even over a family member.

This article dissects the steps for starting a home health care business, read it for an in-depth analysis and a lot of useful information and references.

In a nutshell,

  1. You’ll need a business plan. “It’s important to have clinical knowledge, but it’s just as important to have business sense because at the end of the day it’s still a business and it must be run like a business to be effective at generating a profit. It requires a balance of skills.” It’ll include a loan, various expenses, including supplies and equipment, and the above-mentioned market research.
  2. You’ll also need medicare certification: “In the United States, it can take a year or longer to open a fully licensed and certified business. It can be a long path.” Count in that period.
  3. Then, find (the right) staff. Challenging, indeed. They represent you, it’s your walking and talking business.
  4. Last one- create a bombshell marketing strategy- from a website and networking to attending trade shows. Get your name stand out for a good reason.

A 97-old lady said that she was lucky to go to home care. That was the first time after a long time for her to not feel afraid. “It was the best feeling”.

Conclusion

Working with people is a highly challenging, yet utterly satisfying job. You get instant feedback. You feel the connection. And you help those people have a chance at a better and more healthy life.

It takes a lot of commitment and a little* learning, but if this is your calling, you are a lucky person to have the opportunity to do what you love while being wildly successful. Just follow the steps and procedures!

AuthorBio: Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londonlive-incare.com. She eagerly shares her knowledge with her audience on various blogs. When she isn’t writing or attending wellness conferences, she likes to pack her rucksack and ride her day away on her bike or spend time with her friends.