About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
How can your major of study improve the lives of seniors receiving in-home care services?
Essay response by Kerry Bloomfield, Bethel University
As an increasing number of seniors begin using in-home care services, it becomes extremely important to consider how we can improve the lives of people receiving these services. A fascinating idea to consider within this topic is how those majoring in the study of nursing will be able to improve the lives of these seniors. There are two main lines of analysis to examine this question under, the first being through nurses working in home health care and the second being through the education of caregivers, such as certified nursing assistants.
The first distinct way that the nursing major can improve the lives of those receiving in-home care services is by preparing students to work as nurses in home health care, often in private duty nursing, respite care, or hospice care. Private duty nursing is care of clients provided by nurses, who usually work one-on-one with individual clients. This type of care is more personal than the care that one might receive in a nursing home, and it improves the life of the senior receiving care by allowing them to stay in their home, know that they are being cared for by a well-qualified individual, and develop a closer relationship with their caregiver. Respite care. Respite care, or temporary care by a qualified health care provider, is used to give a short break to family members serving as a senior’s primary caregiver. This type of care, often provided by those who have completed a nursing major, benefits the senior by allowing them to stay in their home instead of being placed in a nursing home, and benefits the senior’s family by easing the stresses of being a primary caregiver. Nurses are also involved in hospice care for those nearing the end of their lives, which focuses on palliative care, or the easing of pain and the improvement of the quality of life for the client. When nurses work as a part of a hospice care team in the home, this can improve the life of the senior receiving care by allowing them to stay in their home while receiving quality care from qualified individuals. Regardless of the type of work those majoring in nursing chose to pursue, they can clearly impact the lives of seniors receiving in-home care in a positive way.
Another way that the nursing major can help improve the lives of seniors using in-home care services is through the role of nurses in properly educating other caregivers. In-home care services are frequently performed by Certified Nursing Assistants, who are qualified to assist with activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, continence care, dressing, and mobility. As Certified Nursing Assistants may often serve as the primary caregiver for those receiving in-home care services, it is essential that they receive quality education through an accredited program. In order to serve as a Certified Nursing Assistant instructor, one must be certified as a Registered Nurse. Using what they learned from their nursing major to instruct others, these Registered Nurses improve the lives of seniors receiving in home care by ensuring that the Certified Nursing Assistants providing care have been well-educated and are qualified to perform the duties of a nursing assistant. Although this is an indirect form of care, the nurses that educate other caregivers are an essential part of ensuring quality in-home care.
One of the most common reasons people chose to major in nursing is because they want to help others. This can be illustrated through the ways nurses improve the lives of the elderly, both directly, through providing care, and indirectly, by educating other caregivers. Clearly, the nursing major serves a significant part in improving the lives of seniors receiving in-home care, and will continue to do so in the future.
Kerry is currently double majoring in nursing and history at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.