Home Care Nursing Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

The convalescent-home referral said that Loretta was 71 years old with the usual health problems related to stroke and diabetes. It also said that her husband had a gun and “wasn’t afraid to use it.” Fiercely protective of his wife, he’d had many disputes with the nursing staff about her care. The discharge planner who’d referred her to our home care agency insisted that two nurses make the initial home visit.

Read the rest of “The Dirtiest House in Town,” the Reflections essay in the January issue of AJN, here. And let us know your own experiences in home care nursing.

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2016-11-21T13:20:19+00:00 January 5th, 2010|nursing perspective|4 Comments
Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. As a nurse in home care July 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

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  3. violerta January 21, 2010 at 1:31 am

    As a mother of a severely disabled son who has in home nursing care, I can tell you it takes a special nurse to do home care. First, they have to know their boundaries. Be loyal, Humble and patient. We’ve had a few nurses thinnk they were going to have a kick back job sitting on their butts cruising the internet, watching DVD’s on their laptop, text messaging or just sleeping on duty. They don’t last long. Then we have others who are simply wonderful people that you couldnt’ imagine could be so strong and helpful! You have to be careful with anyone you allow in your home. I’ve found the most dangerous and inept nurses are the ones who burden you with all their personal problems, think they are above home care (but do it anyway because they can’t take the pressure of a charge nurse in another setting) and then start looking at all your stuff in your home, comparing it to their lives, in the midst of all your troubles! Very strange, as if families don’t have enough to deal with it. Oh, and we have caught TWO nurses giving our son Tylenol PM to knock him out, so they didnt’ have to deal with him during the night shift. That was really weird. Another nurse used his emergency rescue Diastat, on HIMSELF….yep, we caught the nurse high as a kite on our son’s seizure meds….then there was the nurse who ate all our cookies we just made, not to forget the one who called Japan or the one who stole my new bracelet. SOME, not all, nurses who choose home care do it because they think they can take advantage of overwhelmed parents raising disabled children. I’ve got news for you, we aren’t that stupid. We may need help, but if you screw us over and mess with our kids, we will make sure you aren’t in the nursing profession for long.

  4. Dee Riley, BSN, RN January 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I’ve been a home care nurse for nearly twenty years. I find it to be the most holistic type of nursing because you observe and work with patients in THEIR environments. An astute nurse can learn a LOT just by walking into a patient’s home, and can tailor a treatment plan for the specific patient and situation.

    I’ve been to many dirty, pest-infested homes, but the people who live in them deserve the same quality, unbiased care as the residents of the most beautiful house in town.

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