Home nursing is nursing care which is provided in a home environment, rather than in a medical facility. There are many circumstances in which people require home care, ranging from people who are temporarily incapacitated to people who require long-term nursing care at home. Employment in this field is quite varied, with some nurses working through home nursing agencies, while others are freelancers, hiring themselves out as needed.
The level of care involved in home nursing is tailored to the needs of the patient. Some nurses simply visit the home one or more times a day to perform nursing tasks which cannot be done by other caregivers, or to check on the patient's well being if no other caregivers are being used. In other cases, home nursing is a live-in position, because the patient requires constant monitoring and care.
Some people choose home nursing because they are strongly opposed to staying in a hospital or similar treatment facility. If a doctor feels that the patient would do just as well or better at home, he or she will allow the patient to go home. In other instances, doctors may actively recommend home care, or family members may express a desire to take care of a patient at home. As long as a patient is stable and at low risk of complications or sudden medical emergencies, at-home nursing can be an excellent care option.
Home nurses administer medications, assist with physical therapy, and check on surgical sites, supplementary feeding tubes, and medical devices, to make sure that everything is working smoothly. They often help with basic patient care like bathing, assistance with going to the bathroom, and so forth. Home nurses may also escort their patients on trips outside the house, ensuring that someone is available if the patient has a sudden medical need.
For someone with a network of caregivers, home nursing ensures that critical medical procedures are performed properly. Some people also prefer to use a visiting nurse for tasks which they find humiliating or uncomfortable, such as assistance with going to the bathroom. Home nurses also look out for patient welfare, using their medical training to identify cases in which a patient might be better-served by hospital care or more intensive nursing.