For people who naturally love caring for people, becoming a home health aide (HHA) could serve as a calling. Women and men in these professions love caring for people as if they were their own family. Home health aides tend to shower patients with love and care to help promote healing and overall well-being.
Being an aide is so much more than just assisting the person as they heal and go through life. In fact, it is about building trust with the patient and the family when they are at the most vulnerable moments of their life. Not only that, but home health aides also serve as the eyes and ears of doctors and nurses. Whenever the doctors or nurses need assistance with a patient, they are always sure to consult the aide first because they are oftentimes the first to notice a change in the patient’s condition.
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A HHA holds a number of responsibilities in their job and has to be very versatile at what they do. They must assist the patient in the activities of daily living, also known as ADLs, and provide basic routine care (such as assistance in bathing and brushing teeth). This care normally takes place in the privacy of a person’s home or in an assisted living home.
Home health aides are usually employed by staffing agencies, hospice, and home health agencies, so patients can remain at home and maintain their dignity while receiving assistance. Some home health aides may go to convalescent or nursing homes and act as private aides, but most cases involve going to the patient’s home.
Whenever an aide notices a change in a patient’s condition, such as a new cut or bruise or if the patient is having a change in breathing capacity, the aide holds the utmost responsibility in documenting the change and notifying the family, nurse, or doctors.
While some states require a Certified Nursing Assistant license, many other states do not. However, receiving such a certification always puts the HHA above other competing students, as they may have better knowledge of certain medical situations. However, it remains important to contact the local school about such requirements.
Along with having a positive attitude, proper use of body mechanics, critical thinking skills, a loving nature and optimistic attitude, the home health aide candidate must be able to pass a background test and a urine test before a license can be granted and a job attained.
For people interested in becoming a HHA, it is advisable to check out links for their state department of public health for a listing of schools that provide HHA training. Generally, home health training courses can also be found at local community colleges and universities, or they can also be provided by the facility for which the candidate already works.
HHAs may move on to other professions and attain their nursing license too and always count their HHA experience as a great steppingstone.
Home health aides can work in a variety of settings. Many are employed in the home health care services field and are staffed out to homes. Other facilities include mental health and substance abuse facilities, nursing care facilities, community care homes for the elderly or individual and family employment. Out of all these workplace settings, hospice, home health, and private care remain among the most popular locations to work among health aides.
According to the United States Department of Labor, 10% of HHA workers receive an hourly wage of $7.89. It should also be taken into account that this number is totally dependent on minimum wage set by the state or home health and hospice agencies.
Also, 50% of HHAs reported to be earning $9.91 per hour whereas 90% of home health aides are supposedly earning $14.20 per hour. The yearly salary falls between $16,000 and $29,000.
The United States Department of Labor also predicts that between 2010 and 2020, this career will have grown by 70%. The states where there is rising employment for home health aides are California, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York.