Home Health Care and Hospice Nurses

Home Health Care Nurse Treats Patient

Home health care nurses, also called visiting nurses, provide home-based health care under the direction of a physician. They care for persons who are recovering from an accident, illness, surgery, cancer, or childbirth. They may work for a community organization or a private health care provider, or they may be independent nurses who work on a contract basis.

While home health care nurses care for patients expecting to recover, hospice nurses care for people who are in the final stages of a terminal illness. Typically, a hospice patient has less than six months to live. Hospice nurses provide medical and emotional support to the patients and their families and friends. Hospice care usually takes place in the patient's home, but patients may also receive hospice care in a hospital room, nursing home, or a relative's home. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) states, "Hospice care professionals and volunteers provide services that address all of the symptoms of a terminal illness—ranging from physical to emotional to spiritual—with the aim of promoting comfort and dignity and living as fully as possible at life's end."

Both home health care and hospice nursing professions practice a team approach in caring for their patients. Support people, such as volunteers, aides, therapists, social workers, and clergy, are often involved in the patient's care, as well as doctors.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Visiting Nurses
Duties Perform basic medical procedures; provide patient care; coordinate with doctors and other health care professionals; comfort patients and families during difficult times; specialize in certain diseases or areas of care
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Minimum Education Level
  • Associate's Degree
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Health
Experience Prior nursing experience required
Personality Traits
  • Helpful
  • Social
  • Technical
  • Interpersonal
  • Organizational
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Owner, Home Health Care Agency
  • Supervisor of Nurses
  • Home Health Care/Hospice Nurse