There Is So Much to Being a Home Health Clinician
As a home health clinician you are equal parts secretary, salesperson, author, taxidriver and clinician. Not everyone is capable of wearing the many hats required for home health. If you’re not familiar, let us break them down.
The secretary part of our job involves making dozens of calls per week to doctors, their offices, other clinicians, and even patients. We coordinate with our interdisciplinary team, get verbal authorizations, inform doctors of changes, ask about equipment orders, and a trillion other things. You’ll also be making a schedule and attempting to coordinate with 15-20+ other souls as you dodge traffic, other appointments, iron clad meal times, and the most narrow set of waking hours you can imagine (seriously, how can a person sleep so much?). And that’s just the “secretary” work you’re responsible for!
In home health, even getting inside your client’s door can sometimes be a challenge. For this reason, every home health clinician is first a salesperson. You quite literally have to talk your way into a patient’s home. This involves a fair amount of schmoozing, talking up your services, and a healthy dose of name dropping (i.e. your doctor asked me to check on you, Susan asked me to come….). In addition, assisted living facility directors can be very fickle creatures. Your savvy with sales comes in very handy for continued referrals.
Next comes the author. You’re probably already familiar with the never ending battle to complete all your documentation/charting. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like the author of a very boring book--a book that NEVER ends--explaining the services provided in detail: why they were reasonable and necessary and in terms that a chart auditor will both understand and agree with. This is often a frustrating chore, and one that can easily steal you away from your family and friends as you chart late into the night. This is why it is important to learn how to HACK the home health system!
Taxi driver/deliveryman is another hat the home health clinician may become accustomed to wearing. The city or suburb you frequent will become your massive home as you learn the ins and outs of traffic patterns while trying to make a logical sequence of destinations (again, those 15-20 patients’ schedules can frustrate you here), and sometimes ferrying other clinicians for ride alongs for training, observation, or regulatory requirements. It’s all in a day’s work in home health!
Finally, you are a CLINICIAN. You went to school for a long time and worked very hard to know your field. Whether you’re a PT, OT, ST, RN or Medical Social Worker, your skill with people and the knowledge you possess can change people’s lives for the better. Although it can be challenging and you might want to pull out your hair (we all do at some time), a career in home health can be tremendously rewarding.