A private duty nurse is a qualified LPN/LVN, home health aide or registered nurse who provides personalized one on one care to a patient who is suffering from an injury or illness, usually working out of the patients home where they provide the patient with medical care and/or other assistance for several hours a day, however in some cases private nurses may also provide assistance to patients at a hospital or other healthcare facility.
Private nurses may be hired after a patient goes through a major surgery in order to provide a patient with additional assistance in their home or in cases where elderly patients may need additional home care.
As far as the types of tasks registered nurses are in charge of performing some of the duties these private nurses may perform include dressing a patients wounds, monitoring their vital signs, placing/replacing catheters, administering IV’s, assisting with medications and many of the other tasks registered nurses would normally provide at a hospital, while LPN’s,LVN’s and home health aides may be more restricted (legally) in terms of the types of services they can provide patients with and may act as an assistant helping the patient with basic tasks and assisting with housekeeping chores, however in some situations they are not able (or allowed) to provide the types of specialized care registered nurses may perform.
In terms of pay registered nurse may make an average hourly wage equal to 3x the pay an LPN/LVN or home health aide may make per hour of work.
While a home health aide may make $15 – $25 per hour a registered nurse may bring in around $40 – $100 per hour.
For the financially conscious patient who is interesting in hiring a private nurse it may be beneficial to split their medical care between a registered nurse and an LPN/LVN so that they can keep costs down while also receiving the medical care and attention they need.
It is also very important for patients to find out whether or not their health insurance covers or contributes to the cost of a private duty nurse before making the leap into hiring one.
Most private nurses either work independently as entrepreneurs or as hired contractors for a private healthcare organization.
Those who choose to hire private nurses may choose to either interview nurses on their own or look for an agency that provides private nursing.
The pros and cons of hiring a private nurse on your own vs working with an agency
Pros: There is a good possibility that by hiring a private nurse on your own you may save a good amount of money (25% or more) on your health bill.
This is especially important if you end up having to foot the bill because it isn’t supported by your health insurance policy.
You may also have a greater level of freedom in choosing who you want to work with by interviewing and hiring nurses on your own.
Cons: In some cases it may be more difficult to get in touch with a single private nurse, especially since there is no organization or agency you can call regarding a nurse you may have had difficulty reaching or getting return phone calls from.
While there are many great single working private nurses in the field it is important to point this fact out.
Also, if a non agency nurse gets injured on the job while providing care to a patient there is the possibility that the patient may be solely responsible for the nurses own medical bill.
On the other hand nurses who work with an agencies may have liability insurance to protect against possible work related injuries, which provides a patient with additional protection and security in the event that a nurse is injured while on the job.
In any case both choices have their own benefits so it is important to talk to both types of private duty nurses and find out what options work best for you.