Patients prefer home care over an extended stay in a hospital or nursing home, and for the elderly, home care can actually be the more affordable option. Home health care agencies provide skilled nurses and medical workers to oversee older patients who need constant care and may be approaching the end of their lives. They also service people with severe disabilities or patients who are recovering from serious accidents. Home health agencies also employ administrators to be in charge of both the business and the patient wellness aspects of the company. Not every health care administrator works at a hospital – some of them specialize in the best ways to provide this very personal home health care. Here are the steps to pursuing health care administration as a career.
1. Researching Health Care Administration
The duties of a home health care administrator can vary wildly based on the kind of agency they work for. The first step in getting involved in the home health care industry is finding out which kinds of agencies are near you and which services they provide. Some agencies specialize in hospice care, which can mean involving a person’s family in their end-of-life treatment. Others provide help with dressing and bathing for the elderly or disabled. Some agencies specialize in physical therapy, and others provide nurses who can administer medications and help patients with their diet. Every kind of home health care has different licensing requirements, and it’s important to know what kind of education or certification you need to pursue.
2. Gaining Health Care Experience
Before you can become the boss, you need to have a good grasp on medical practices. Many health administrators are also registered nurses, and even more have spent years working in hospitals and interacting with patients. Even if your knowledge and experience leans more towards the business side of things, you might want to look for work as a healthcare administrative assistant. This is a valuable way to learn about the finances and paperwork involved with running a medical business, and you can also work for a company that promotes from within its staff.
3. Developing Excellent People Skills
To be a great health care administrator, you need to be able to relate to patients, their families, your nurses, and insurance companies. Patients who elect for home care are more concerned with being actively involved in their own treatment and remaining independent. Your agency should meet the personalized needs of patients, while letting their family members assist in providing treatment and understanding the condition of their loved one. This can be difficult for administrators to combine with the business side, because you are also involved in negotiating with insurance companies and Medicare representatives to make sure the services you provide are adequately funded.
4. Starting Your Own Home Health Care Business
Some people get into home health administration by starting a home health agency of their own. It can be difficult to get the money to run your own business when it involves providing healthcare. You can’t charge for service until you are approved by the state, which means getting started can be tough. But in the long run, it’s also a great idea, because the aging baby boomer population means that healthcare is a thriving field. Many hospitals pass over nurses who have recently graduated because of their lack of experience, and start-up health businesses are a good option for them. That means you and your staff have the opportunity to learn and grow together.
Home care can be very rewarding for both patients and providers, because you get a chance to provide personal attention that you can’t always provide at a large hospital. It also gives you a chance to help someone recover or just live comfortably, surrounded by their friends and family. And that is a cause worth devoting your career to.
About the Author:
Katie Eldridge is a full-time writer for higher ed blogs and journals nationwide. If you’re interested in hospitals and their impact on the surrounding community, several schools offer degrees in the health field, including www.healthadministrationdegree.usc.edu and www.berkeley.edu.
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