When your loved one’s health begins to decline, you might not feel prepared for the next step. In the case of an elderly loved one no longer being able to care for themselves, you have assistance options. If your loved one has medical issues, you should consider sending them to a nursing home or a special care unit. These options offer resources and treatment that can help your loved one. Or, you can hire someone to take care of your loved one at home. There are many home health care options. If your loved one needs serious medical attention, hiring a nurse is a good option. You can learn about one type of nurse, the licensed practical nurse, on this page.
What is a Licensed Practical Nurse?
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is also known as a licensed vocational nurse. This is a type of nurse that can provide basic nursing care for those that need it. Most licensed practical nurses work under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses. They usually work in hospitals and nursing homes. But, there are licensed practical nurses that are available for private hire.
As a licensed nurse, an LPN can provide the following care for your loved one:
- Track health.
- Administer care, such as taking care of wounds and inserting catheters.
- Provide comfort by helping with basic tasks.
- Discuss care options with a patient and their family.
- Report issues to a doctor or registered nurse.
- Track changes in health.
Depending on the state, an LPN can have more responsibilities. These include starting an intravenous drip or providing more complex care. These responsibilities are generally reserved for registered nurses.
Licensed Practical Nurse vs. Home Health Aide
Licensed practical nurses differ from home health aides in some ways. They differ the tasks that they can perform and their education. No education is required to become a home health aide. But, to become an LPN, one has to attend an educational program approved by the state. This program generally lasts up to a year, and completion will result in a diploma or certificate. The program is generally offered by community colleges and technical schools. It provides students with knowledge about pharmacology, nursing, and biology.
After completing the program, one has to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). The completion of the educational program is not enough. If the NCLEX-PN is not passed as well, the person cannot become an LPN. LPNs can also further their educations and become certified in areas like IV therapy. This allows them to perform more tasks for their patients.
Because becoming an LPN takes more time and education, LPNs can perform more tasks than aides. LPNs can provide significant medical help that home health aides cannot provide. So, if your loved one needs medical attention, hiring an LPN instead of a home health aide is a good option. You may also want to consider hiring both a home health aide and an LPN. The home health aide can take care of basic tasks, while the LPN can oversee medical issues and needs.
If your loved one has medical needs and you want to provide home health care for them, consider hiring an LPN. For help making this decision, you can contact our office.