Home Health Aides (HHA) serve their patients by helping them bathe and dress, and can assist with housekeeping responsibilities, like laundry, dishes and vacuuming. They may be responsible for organizing a patient’s schedule to make sure they make all necessary appointments, and the HHA may also transport their patient to and from these appointments. If you are actually looking for an assisted living community for a loved one, then you can easily join here.
Other responsibilities of a HHA include grocery shopping, keeping their patient engaged in their networks for communities, checking their vitals, administering medications, caring for injuries and helping them to pursue any necessary lifestyle accommodations.
Education & Training
To become a Home Health Aide, professionals should complete a post-secondary non-degree program from a community college or vocational school. During these programs, they can expect to receive training in basic safety techniques, housekeeping, dietary needs, best hygiene practices, taking vital signs, etc. After the completion of a program, agencies typically require that these professionals pass a competency evaluation and become certified. Note that completing a CPR certification may also be required.
While additional training may be required based on the specific employer, a large portion of learning also comes from working first-hand with patients in their homes. This is because each patient often has their own preferences and a unique amount of time necessary to become comfortable with their Home Health Aide.
To continue to advance a career as a Home Health Aide, professionals can choose to enhance their skill sets through additional continuing education and training or may even consider learning an additional language to make them that much more marketable within the field.
Additionally, if an HHA is a temp employee, they can request additional responsibilities to help move them to a more permanent role. They can also pursue an Associate’s Degree in healthcare or nursing, seek opportunities outside the home health field (for example, working in hospitals, outpatient centers, etc.), start their own business or consider moving into the education sector to teach principles relating to a career as a Home Health Aide.
Experience & Skills
Possessing physical stamina plays a critical role for HHA, because some clients require their Aide’s help to perform a variety of tasks; patients may need to be lifted, transitioned or moved by their Home Health Aide. These professionals should have strong communication and interpersonal skills, which allows them to effectively communicate with both their patients, their patient’s families, and other healthcare professionals, like a primary care physician.
Ultimately, they should have the skills necessary to be able to provide an excellent level of care to those who are unable to care for themselves. The extent to which a patient may need assistance will vary, but Home Health Aides need to be open-minded and committed to helping their patients improve the quality of their lives and complete daily functions and activities.
The HHA career involves a high level of integrity, as they take care of patients who are unable to fully take care of themselves independently. To be successful in the career, HHAs should enable their patients to feel comfortable with them, and to trust that their needs are priority number one to their HHA. Home Health Aides must be dependable and detail oriented.
They must be dependable because clients rely so heavily on their assistance, and they have to be detail-oriented because the slightest error in procedure or instruction could have detrimental effects on the client. Lastly, an HHA has to possess strong interpersonal skills, which allows them to communicate and relate to their clients. Included in these skills should be a deep sense of empathy and compassion, as dependency on a professional can often be incredibly frustrating or upsetting for the client.
The lifestyle of a Home Health Aide is flexible but can also be very busy. Many of these professionals work full-time and may visit three or more patients in a single day. Yet others, especially those who own their own business, can essentially create their own schedules. By establishing their own schedule, Home Health Aides can choose to take on as many or as few patients as they know they can handle.
However, more patients typically equate to a higher salary, so many Home Health Aides choose to stay busy. Also, because patients may require a Home Health Aide by their side constantly, they may need to work evenings, nights, weekends and holidays depending on their clients’ requirements.
Furthermore, because Home Health Aides can be needed to help move, re-position or transport a patient, they can be more susceptible to injuries. They must constantly remain aware of their own health by using best practices in regard to the physical demands of the job.
Now is the ideal time to begin a career in healthcare as an HHA. The employment of Home Health Aides is estimated to grow 36% over the next decade, at a rate much faster than the average for other occupations. This growth can mostly be attributed to the aging baby-boomer population, and their increasing in-home care needs. With age, elderly clients become unable to perform many of the day-to-day tasks they were used to completing on their own and thus, Home Health Aides have come to serve a vital role in their lives.
Additionally, the vast majority of Home Health Aides are employed by home healthcare providers, and work within their patient’s home. However, other professionals within this field may find employment via elderly and/or disabled person services, retirement care communities, assisted living facilities, developmental facilities or nursing homes. The state with the highest employment level within this field is currently New York, followed by Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.