While many babies are born completely healthy, there are instances in which parents may decide that an at-home nurse is necessary when they bring baby home from the hospital. A baby might be born early, for example, and face issues with development that require ongoing medical care, or at least observation. This is a very common occurrence with mothers carrying multiples (twins, triplets, and so on). Or your baby may have suffered some trauma in the womb due to illness or accident affecting the mother prior to childbirth. Some infants are simply born with conditions that leave parents needing extra help to care for them, at least early in life. Whatever your reasons for wanting to hire an at-home nurse to assist you in caring for your newborn, however, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you let someone into your home and your nursery.
- Need. The first thing to think about is whether or not your newborn actually needs an at-home nurse. In some cases, you may be able to manage your baby’s healthcare requirements on your own with the help of devices like breathing and heart monitors, or training in infant resuscitation. Plus, you can always head to a medical facility or call paramedics if you’re in dire need. On the other hand, having a live-in nurse on call in case of emergency can not only save your baby’s life, but also provide you with peace of mind and another set of hands if your newborn is sickly. Chances are you have not entered into the decision lightly, but it pays to think about whether or not your baby actually needs a nurse or if you’re the one who could use some help. FYI – a nanny might be cheaper if the latter is true.
- Cost. Hiring an in-home nurse can not only be terribly expensive, but it may fall beyond the scope of what your insurance policy covers. This could leave you holding the bag for some serious medical costs should you decide to hire a home health aide. For the family that is struggling financially, this could be out of the question. But parents will do almost anything to ensure the health, happiness, and safety of a child. You just need to consider whether putting your family in the poorhouse is the best way to go about caring for your newborn.
- Credentials. Perhaps the easiest part of the hiring process revolves around the resume. If you hire someone through a reputable caregiver organization, they’ll likely run the background check for you to ensure that an applicant’s schooling and work history are accurate. But it’s not too difficult to figure it out on your own by simply contacting the institutions listed.
- References. Some people fudge their references, relying on the fact that nobody will take the time to check them. Do not fall into this trap! Call every reference to verify that the person you’re considering for hire is reliable, trustworthy, and capable of caring for your newborn. And don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions to ensure that the applicants haven’t simply enlisted family members or friends to lie on their behalf.
- Gut feeling. This is not exactly a quantifiable criterion for hiring, but considering you have to live with this person and entrust him or her with your precious newborn, your gut feeling should play a major role in the hiring process. No matter how qualified applicants may be, whether they have managed to find HHA training or they’ve actually got RN certification, you don’t want to hire someone that you feel is cold and uncaring towards your child. And even the nicest home nurse won’t do if he or she is inexperienced and prone to panic in emergency situations. So gauge applicants not just by the resume they submit, but by whether or not you feel they can care for your newborn more than just adequately and offer the same love and devotion that you do.