What Are the Duties of a Home Health Aide?

Are you interested in helping disabled people or sick individuals live in the comfort of their own homes? Home health aides do just that. Read on to learn more about the specific occupational tasks and the education required to work in this field. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Tasks and Responsibilities

As a home health aide, your main responsibilities include assisting disabled or otherwise incapacitated people in their own residence. This may include basic health care assistance, such as monitoring temperature and heart rate, and everyday tasks, such as bathing and grooming. You may also be in charge of cooking for patients; this may involve adhering to special dietary restrictions. Other common housekeeping errands, such as doing the clients' laundry and making their beds, may also be part of your daily routine.

For many clients, you may also be one of their only forms of human companionship, so it is essential to be friendly with them and engage in entertaining activities. You may also help clients and their families adjust to their disability and teach them how to eventually take care of themselves without the help of home health aides.

Another important part of the job involves working with nurses, therapists, and other medical workers to track the progress of the home-care patients. You will keep records of their condition and report back to your supervisor to determine the extent of care needed and how much longer it will be necessary.

Important Facts About Home Health Aides

On-the-Job Training Short term
Work Environment Residences, small or large care communities, hospice
Similar Occupations Childcare worker, medical assistant, orderly
Key Skills Detail oriented, inter-personal skills, time management, physical stamina

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

There are few traditional education requirements needed to become a home health aide, though the requirements increase if you work for an agency that is funded by Medicaid or Medicare. Even a high school diploma is not expressly required, though some on-the-job training is usually expected. You will learn how to perform routine domestic duties for your clients, such as cooking and cleaning, and basic emergency procedures that you may encounter in the health care industry.

To work for a government-funded agency, you need to complete a formal training program and pass a competency evaluation, the details of which vary from state to state. Some of these formal training programs require you to hold a nursing assistant certification before being admitted to the program.

Employment and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there were 911,500 people employed as home health aides in 2016. The BLS predicts an occupational growth of 47% for home health aides from 2016-2026. This extremely high growth rate can be attributed in part to the expected increase in the elderly population. Payscale.com reported that the median yearly salary of home health aides in June 2019 was $25,908.

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