Home Health (HH) Rehabilitation Professionals are increasingly in demand.
We asked some therapists who are working in this field to give us an overview of the pros and cons of this setting.
Here’s what they have to say:
I enjoy Home Health & would recommend it.
I was a Director of a Rehab Department when my Dad had a heart attack two years ago. My parents are divorced so I had to help take care of him. Home Health was a solution for me. I could set my own schedule around my Dad’s doctors appointments. My Dad is doing great now.
I love being my own boss. I work as much or as little as I want. I get to help patients & families in the comfort of their own homes. I get to be creative in my treatment plans. I get one on one time with my patients. I’m not interrupted by meetings, staffing issues, productivity demands like when I worked as a Director. I am able to travel on Missions Trips & vacations abroad.
Also, I got to teach in the Physical Therapy Department at Northwestern University as an Adjunct Faculty. I couldn’t do that if I worked in another setting or for someone else.
I love working in Home Health. I have been able to refer to physician or hospital if patient isn’t progressing as he/should, help families get equipment & be a support to them when they are often overwhelmed. I am appreciated for what I do.
I did it for a few years and here is what I think:
- You must be comfortable being on your own…very little interaction with any other person on the team, often times you may never even meet the other caregivers…
- Be very familiar with medical issues, you need to have the mind set of SNF/hospital WAY more than outpatient in the way you think, create a care plan, document, etc.
- Learn the federal laws, only takes about two hours to read the CMS benefit manual about home health, good place to get some grounded info
- Be prepared for a LOT of phone calls, faxes, emails, and PAPERWORK, more so than actual patient time
- There is a lot on the line, so you must be AWESOME documented
- Patients are older, and less tolerant to tardiness etc, need to be a great time predictor and time manager
- Be prepared for crazy days, inevitably, a patient will not call and cancel and throw off your day as you get a new patient 50 miles away where you just were, etc, you MUST roll with the punches
- Love to eat in your car! learn where the clean bathrooms are around town! Get ready to put insane mileage on your car! Get ready to go through tires, breaks, oil changes, and gas like you have never done before!
- Lots of meetings! LOTS of meetings!
- It is a nurse hierarchy like a hospital, know your role…
- Learn to balance patient expectation, physician expectations, agency expectations, family expectations, and what the federal laws allow, and let the federal laws trump all, just set the bar at realism and don’t over promise, and you will be fine…
- FLEXIBILITY….you have a work week 7 days, to get things done, you can often take a 2 day off period in the middle of the week even and get everything done just fine…very flexible but most patients want between 10 and 3…not many before, not many after, plan your day appropriately!
- Work 7 days a week or work 2, very flexible!
- GREAT pay, one of the best paying jobs in therapy
- Will not get much clinical satisfaction…if you are used to acute neuro or fast paced outpatient etc, you will feel like your clinical skills are being wasted and eroding, and you will not feel very challenged clinically as much as al the other things, the paperwork, time management, etc. Don’t go into this for clinical self rewarding. – hope that helps!
I am lucky enough to be immersed in the therapy industry, and the award goes to…Home Health.
It is going to be the “new go-to” for therapy. Changes have already shifted this year ends and will continue as the New Year approaches. Skilled Nursing Facilities continue to dominate therapy, but this market has seen a significant decline this year and is expected to plateau this upcoming year.
The two largest expected growth areas will be Home Health and Hospitals. Home Health has a huge advantage mainly due to how it handles the billing process. With a decent documentation system, there are not struggles to get reimbursed for visits. You often see documentation in SNFs not being sufficient and/or up to Medicare guidelines, especially for part B patients. This is not the case for the majority of Home Health companies; especially since most insurance is private or part A.
Hospitals will continue to grow with this shift, again due to billing. Outpatient and LTC facilities can also have patients covered by a Home Health company under certain criteria.
With the many restrictions that are slapped on our industry every October, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This light will help us get back to patient care and break through the productivity and numbers battle. We know that every setting does not appeal to everyone, the industry will continue to heads toward Home Health, not just for our geriatric population but for early intervention as well. The upcoming year will be an exciting one for the therapy world… I recommend trying out Home Health.
If you are interested in working in the Home Health setting, shop around for a Home Health Rehabilitation employer who matches your goals.
Take the time to research productivity and compensation expectations before accepting employment with a Home Healthcare Provider. Home Health Therapists need to know their employer’s expectations for number of visits per day, distance between visits and mileage reimbursement, documentation, and after hours paperwork and communication with clients. These are major factors in Home Health Therapist job satisfaction. A great way to “try out” your next employer is to begin working for them as temporary employee. myPTsolutions helps therapists find both temporary and permanent job placements.
myPTsolutions works with all kinds of home health agencies, from hospital owned to independent, therapist-owned providers. Let us put our experience to work for you.