Home health aides work with those that are housebound, such as the chronically ill, disabled, and the elderly to help them remain independent and live in their homes rather than nursing facilities.
In addition, many home health aides assist in hospice care as well as day care for those that are disabled and cannot work, but still can remain engaged in their communities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics home health aides is projected to grow a massive 50 percent through the year 2018 due to the aging population. Therefore, career opportunities abound for those that complete the training and are certified.
Some of the home health aide skills needed are beyond what you may learn in a classroom and this is compassion, when you have this skill, your other training falls into place. Training is typically on the job, but requirements vary by state. In addition, you must pass an exam in order to be certified in your state, this is definitely required if you work for an agency that is reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid.
You will learn the correct way to move people, change their bedding, and bathe if necessary. You may be required to do some housekeeping, laundry, shopping, and prepare meals. You will also have to help patients get out of bed, if they are able to walk, but need assistance. You can expect your daily routine to vary greatly, and you may have several different patients you visit on a daily or weekly basis. Other home health aide skills include good listening and communication skills, since you may be dealing with people that are in their final stages of life.
In addition, depending on your state and training, you may need to check vital signs, take blood pressure readings and keep records of any services you performed. This is particularly important if there is a reimbursement for Medicare or Medicaid involved. Other home health aide skills may include changing bandages, providing skin care or light massage and helping them perform prescribed exercises.
Most home health aides work for hospice agencies and therefore these agencies receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, so you will be required comply with specifics in order for the agency to be reimbursed for services rendered to the patient in his or her home. It is not uncommon for home health aides that have been practicing for some time to be directly hired by a family to care for their loved one. This can work out well for you if you prefer working with just one client. In this case, you would be required to perform the duties set by the family, rather than the state.
Other home health aide skills you will need is the ability to be on your feet long periods of time, ability to work with people that are not only physically challenged but also mentally challenged, both of which can take a toll on your mental and physical state. The biggest challenge for injury on the job is by moving someone incorrectly, because you could injure your back while moving someone. Other injuries could occur from the patient themselves, in other words, if the patient is mentally challenge, they could end up doing you harm and injuring you. Therefore, precautions in these situations much always be adhered to.
Lastly, home health aide skills are more than just mechanical, such as knowing how to move someone, changing their dressing, and taking their blood pressure. You must also know how to show compassion without become emotionally affected by the nature of the condition of a patient. This is probably the hardest skill to learn, because you do need to empathize with your patients, but at the same time, you need a healthy distance, which is learned over years on the job.