Are you curious about a career as a home health and personal care aide in the United States of America? Now you can learn what Home Health and Personal Care Aides do, the work environment, how to become one, salary, and job outlook.
In contrast to other careers that provide healthcare services at hospitals and nursing homes, Home Health and Personal Care Aides provide healthcare services at the home setting to people with chronic or acute conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cancer, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and orthopedic injuries. Home health and personal care aides work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
Home health and personal care aides can work alone or they can be paired with another HHA to work on an individual case basis. The duties of a home health aide can include bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting, feeding, grooming, and medication administration.
The scope of practice for a Home Health and Personal Care Aide is usually determined by state law and local regulations. A Home Health and Personal Care Aide will need to be trained to perform a number of specialized skills, including lifting patients in different positions, administering injections, monitoring vital signs, and providing skilled nursing care. The number of hours that a Home Health and Personal Care Aide works is dependent upon the individual’s needs. Home Health and Personal Care Aides can work either a full time or part time schedule. In some states, Home Health and Personal Care Aides are paid hourly or on a per diem basis.
Home Health and Personal Care aides need the following skills:
- Physical assessment and diagnosis of conditions
- Provide treatments and therapies
- Assess physical function
- Assist with activities of daily living
- Administer medications
- Monitor and evaluate health status and care needs
- Prepare and administer meals
- Observe and report abnormal conditions
- Plan and coordinate care
- Evaluate, record, and communicate client progress and care plans
Home health and personal care aides may also be required to have certain education or certifications. For example, the National Council on Home Care requires a certificate in Gerontology, as well as training in medication administration, patient handling, and personal hygiene and grooming. The certification is also linked to a state license and is renewed every two years. In addition, a Home Health and Personal Care Aide must complete a 40-hour course in home health and personal care to be eligible to apply for a job.
Additional skills needed by Home Health and Personal Care Aides include:
Basic Nursing Skills, such as taking a patient’s temperature, pulse, and blood pressure; performing assessments to determine the patient’s condition; identifying pain; administering medications; changing dressings; and positioning.
Skilled Nursing Skills, such as applying casts and splints; administering injections; giving vaccinations; monitoring vital signs; and preparing nutritional supplements.
Home Health and Personal Care Aides may also be required to take CPR training.
Home health and personal care aides are required to work in a healthcare setting and have regular contact with patients. Home health and personal care aides work in a variety of settings, including at home, community centers, health fairs, health maintenance organizations, hospital outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, private physician offices, rehabilitation facilities, schools, and residential care facilities.
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