How to Become a Home Health Aide

How to Become a Home Health Aide

Home health aides are essential to many medical patients around the United States. They help other medical personnel care for patients who are sick, injured, mentally ill, or disabled. They provide care in the homes of the patients or in residential care facilities.

What does a home health aide do?

Home health aides are direct care workers that typically work with patients who require long-term care that is more extensive than friends and family members can give. They care for elderly, patients recovering from medical procedures, disabled people and other patients in the comfort of the patient’s home. They are supervised by nursing and medical personnel and perform many medical tasks such as helping patients walk and administering medications. They check patient’s vital signs, help patients with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.), and help patients with recommended exercises. Sometimes they give massages, change nonsterile dressings, provide skin care, or help with artificial limbs or braces.

What kind of training does a home health aide need?

Medical personnel such as experienced aides, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses typically train home health aides on the job. Some employers provide new home health aides with classroom instruction. Many aides also attend in-service training, workshops, and lectures.

There are guidelines in place by the Federal Government for home health aides that work for employers that receive Medicare reimbursement. The Federal law requires these aides to pass competency evaluations to make sure they can carry out the necessary tasks. Many home health aides receive formal training before taking the examination.

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice enables home health aides to obtain a voluntary certification. Home health aides are also required to be licensed in some states.

What are the prospects for a career in home health aide?

Employment of home health aides is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 28% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The aging population and growing demand for home services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be excellent due to limited amount of people seeking jobs in the field. Job openings will also arise from the need to replay home health aides who leave the occupation or retire.

How much do home health aides make?

As of September 2009, home health aides with less than 1 year experience earned hourly wages between $8.09 and $10.08. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earned hourly wages between $8.11 and $10.37 (2).

A career as a home health aide is a great choice for people who have the desire to provide in home care for patients. Home health aides must be emotionally stable, patient, tactful, understanding, and dependable. They must have great communication and be able to work as part of a team. Honesty, discreetness, and willingness to carry out routine and repetitive tasks are also essential.

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