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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 fantastic career. Women and men in this profession 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. They are responsible for taking care of patients who are suffering from chronic illnesses or disabilities, or are elderly and need continuous care while living at home.

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 their most vulnerable. Home health aides also serve as the eyes and ears for doctors and nurses, as 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 is responsible for a number of things when spending time with their patient. They must assist the patient in the activities of daily living and provide basic routine care; such as assistance in eating, bathing, brushing teeth, giving medicine, changing dressing, checking a patient's temperature and pulse rate, and helping with artificial limbs or walking aids. This care normally takes place in the privacy of a person’s home or in an assisted living home. If a home health aide notices a change in a patient’s condition (a limp, cut, bruise, change in appetite, difficulty breathing etc.), the aide is responsible to document the change, and notify the family, nurse, or doctor.

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.

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. Hospice, home health, and private care remain among the most popular workplaces for home health aides.

How can I become a Home Health Aide?

Only those home health aides who work for agencies and companies that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement are required to complete certification by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice. Agency-employed home health aides are required to complete at least 75 hours of supervised training, observation and documentation of skills, as well as an examination. Aspiring home health aides should contact their states for specific requirements. Home health training courses can be found at local community colleges and universities, and some employers offer on-the-job training.

  • Home Health Aide: Educational Requirements

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    Further Reading

    • Home Health Aide Overview

      Home health aides are a valuable part of any health care team. If you have a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of the sick, disabled, and elderly, this could be a great position for you to consider.

    • 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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