A home health aide provides care, companionship, and assistance to the elderly, chronically ill, disabled, or otherwise impaired person. Under the supervision of a nurse or healthcare practitioner, they may sometimes check a client’s vital signs, administer medication, or help with a ventilator. Most home health aides travel to a client’s home while others may work in care communities, small group homes, residential facilities, or retirement homes. Some may provide services for one patient whereas others may have 4-5 patients a day.
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How to Become a Home Health Aide
A home health aide does not have to have a formal education and though a high school diploma may be preferred by employers, it is not a requirement. Many are trained on-the-job by other medical staff. Home health aides working in hospice agencies or home health agencies would need formal training in personal hygiene and infection control as well.
Job Description of a Home Health Aide
A home health aide provides companionship and help to clients with everyday tasks such as dressing, bathing, or eating. They help client shop for groceries and make meals according to their diet and nutritional needs. They may help them plan their doctor appointments as well. The difference between a personal care aid and a home health aid is that a home health aid may administer medications and check vital signs as they are supervised by a medical professional. Because of this, they might also change a client’s bandages, give skin care, help with braces or walkers, and other needs.
Home Health Aide Career Video Transcript
Home health aides make a major difference in the lives of their patients, providing essential health care that their families may not be able to offer. Home health aides help the elderly, those with disabilities, and those recovering from illness with basic health care tasks such as changing dressings and administering medications. They monitor the client’s health and report changes in status to licensed nursing staff who direct their work. Home health aides may also help with routine tasks like feeding, bathing, and dressing and depending on their client’s needs may assist with other personal care such as light housekeeping and meal preparation.
Most home health aides work in client’s homes but they may also work in small group homes, hospice care, and adult daycare facilities. Some home health aides see the same client daily for years, while others work with new clients often. Where there is no formal educational requirement, most home health aides have a high school. Jobs in certified home health or hospice agencies require formal training and certification. Additional certification requirements vary from state to state. While this career can be emotionally and physically demanding, clients and their families rely on the skills and integrity of home health aides.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides.
National Center for O*NET Development. 31-1011.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.