If you are looking for a career where you can help people and use your compassion, the job of a home health aide may be the right call.
This position requires people who love others and wish to help them overcome challenges, and want to make a difference in the world.
The job of a home health aide is going to provide numerous opportunities since the employment rate is expected to grow by almost 50% over the next 10 years.
That means that there will be more job openings available than ever.
So, what is the job of a home health aide?
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Read on to find out what responsibilities, salary, skills, etc., come with this position.
Article Table of Contents
What Does a Home Health Aide Do
Home health aides are personal care providers who can be hired by a company or a family to take care of a person with a chronic illness, disability, cognitive impairment.
They also take care of elderly people with infirmities or those with other medical conditions that require regular assistance.
They can also work with hospice patients.
In some instances, home care aides can check a patient’s vital signs, give them medications, or perform similar tasks.
This is allowed only in certain states and should be supervised by a nurse or another licensed and qualified healthcare professional.
These professionals help people with cognitive impairment, disabilities, or chronic diseases by assisting them with their daily routine.
They often work with adults in need of assistance.
In some states, they can perform some basic medical procedures, such as getting vital signs of a patient but only under the supervision of a medical professional, such as a nurse.
Other Job Titles of a Home Health Aide
When you go searching for this job, you may find the job listings titled differently.
The following titles also describe this position:
- Home health aide.
- Senior home health aide.
- Nursing assistant (CNA is the required certification).
The primary duties of a home health aide include:
- Cooperate with healthcare staff such as nurses and hospice care doctors to aid clients with simple health duties and personal tasks.
- Track and record patients’ progress to alert the medical care staff of changes.
- Assist patients with basic tasks, such as getting meals, walking, getting dressed, etc.
- Assist patients with physical therapy exercises.
- Collaborate with transportation professionals to ensure the safe transportation of patients if necessary.
- Provide weekly reports to case managers or medical supervisors, inform them of changes in the patient’s condition, or the orders for the care of medical care professionals.
- Help patients feel cared for professionally and personally by engaging in conversation with them.
- Perform light laundry and household services for patients.
- Shop for supplies and groceries.
- Run various errands for patients who can’t run them on their own.
- Teach the use of a walker, cane, wheelchair, as well as personal hygiene and health equipment or techniques.
- Teach the family the appropriate care through ways of turning, lifting, and repositioning the patient.
- Provide advice to the family on personal care, nutritional instructions, cleaning, or household care for patients.
- Maintain a secure and safe environment with confidentiality.
What Does a Home Health Aide Not Do
There are some things that home health aide professionals don’t do.
For instance, they are not physicians or nurses, so they don’t have the same authority in decision-making concerning healthcare.
They don’t have permission to give out medications, perform wound dressing changes, and other medical tasks.
For that, they would need certification and perform it only under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Unless properly certified and licensed, home health aides are not nurses.
The qualifications home health aides should meet can vary from employer to employer, but the most common ones include:
- Current and valid certifications – HHA or CNA.
- A given number of years of experience in the field, though some companies will hire and train new home health aides.
- Ability to lift up to 50 pounds – some will require more, depending on the types of clients they work with.
- Ability to work some weekends, holidays, and evenings.
- Exceptional patient service skills.
- Ability to promote health and maintenance to clients.
- Health care administration.
- Ability to keep a safe, effective environment for working with patients.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills.
- Strong listening skills.
- Medical teamwork.
- Emotional control.
Training and Education
Typically, home health aides need a minimum of a high school diploma or GED.
Most states also require certain state-approved certifications to ensure these professionals provide the healthcare service up to the industry and health standards.
Certifications are usually required for the positions that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
They should meet higher compliance standards.
Even if you aren’t planning to work with one of those companies, it is still recommended getting a certification for liability issues and a stronger hire-ability.
You should check the standards and laws in your state regarding these licenses and certifications.
This will help you better understand the depth and length of programs you may be required to take.
Most agencies and companies provide short on-the-job training teaching their standards of care.
You will learn the policies and procedures either from a handbook or verbally, during the on-the-job training in the probation or the one the company provides.
Read the full guide:
How to Become a Home Health Aide: The Definitive Guide
Work Settings for Home Health Aides
Home health aides can be employed by the agencies and companies providing proper training, finding clients, and meeting regulations of their state.
They may be large corporations with a massive national hub or small companies run by locals.
Some home care aides can work for residential care facilities.
If you have the training, fortitude, and business acumen, you can even be self-employed with a small business license issued by your area and take your own clients.
Some home health care professionals can work with one client with a high demand for physical care.
Others work with several clients throughout the week or with a few every day.
According to Glassdoor, the median salary for a home health aide is $26,269.
It ranges between $21,000 at the lowest end and $35,000 at the highest.
This is a fairly average rate, and, depending on your standards of living, can be considered low-end to moderate.
This salary shows that in this position, you can earn a percentage higher than the highest statewide minimum wage jobs.
In some cases, it’s even higher than the highest city-implemented minimum wage, for instance, in Chicago it’s $12 per hour.
Locations with a higher minimum wage pay more to home health aides, as well as those where economics demand higher pay.
Your hourly rate or salary will also depend on the type of company or practice you work for.
Finding the Right Home Health Aide Position
Before you sign any contracts, be sure to sign up for certification programs.
You can also choose anything related to signing on as a caregiver.
You need to find out all the information you can about the job of a home health aide before you take a job.
Some positions of caregivers might be suitable for some people and not the best fit for others with specific care requirements or physical demands.
As soon as you find the agency you wish to collaborate with, you need to gather your certifications as well as other training assessments required for the job with them.
If you choose, you can work in this area for years, and you will meet multiple wonderful people who will need your care.