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What is a Home Health Aide?

Also known as: In-Home Caretaker, Home Care Aide, Certified Home Health Aide, Home Health Provider, Home Health Assistant.

For people who naturally love caring for people, becoming a home health aide 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 a home health 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.

What does a Home Health Aide do?

A home health aide 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 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.

What is the workplace of a Home Health Aide like?

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.

How can I become a Home Health Aide?

While some states require a Certified Nursing Assistant license, many other states do not. However, receiving such a certification always puts the home health aide 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 home health aide, it is advisable to check out links for their state department of public health for a listing of schools that provide home health aide 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.

Home health aides may move on to other professions and attain their nursing license too and always count their home health aide experience as a great steppingstone.


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Further Reading

  • Home Health Aide Guide

    Becoming a home health aide (also known simply as “HHA”) is a great opportunity to help others who need some basic care. It is one of the fastest growing job markets and expectations are that there will continue to be a very strong demand for home health aides.

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