Efforts Continue to Empower TN Patients, Caregivers

Nashville, TN – Legislation before the Tennessee Assembly will offer more professional care options to people in need of home health care. The Health Maintenance Tasks bill will allow home health aides to perform basic medical tasks for in-home patients. Currently, only a registered nurse can legally perform these duties, which often makes the cost of care prohibitive for families. Comments from state Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Nashville (Dist. 6).
Intro: As it stands in Tennessee, only a registered nurse can provide basic health care to in-home patients. While the law may sound logical on paper, state Representative Darren Jernigan of Nashville said he experienced first-hand how that requirement may complicate things for patients as they seek care at home. Wheelchair-bound after an accident, his home health aide couldn’t hand him a bottle of medicine. Supporters of this legislation say because many patients can’t afford a registered nurse in home care, this offers an opportunity for a trained medical professional to offer some of that care. Jernigan says based on his experience, home health aides should at least be able to connect patients with medication already directed by a medical professional.