Being a home health aide is unlike anything else in the healthcare industry: you have the opportunity to care for people in their own homes. You’re invited into a private space to care for people where they feel most comfortable and safe. There are special tasks and requirements for being a home health aide.
Being a home health aide is unlike anything else in the healthcare industry: you have the opportunity to care for people in their own homes. As people living with chronic conditions or the effects of aging might be weary of being at a hospital, nursing home, or assisted living environment, home health aides are invited into a private space to care for people where they feel most comfortable and safe. Your clients trust you in their own homes. While some of the work may be challenging at times, you will be making a positive change in your patient’s life.
Every day is different as a home health aide at Brooks. Home health aides can work with people of different ages or who need different kinds of help. But your primary goal is to help someone live independently at home, so each day you will assist them in their everyday needs by helping them complete daily tasks they need to complete their week. Not only are you helping them live a full life, but you are helping them to remain in their own homes and modifying everything to fit the needs of your individual client. Thus, the work you would do is varied and rewarding.
At the same time, there might be no standard time range for being with your client. While some shifts can last a few hours, other patients may require round the clock attendance, with eight-hour shifts or even live-in opportunities too. The interval of time a client requires a home health aide varies as well, with some clients needing assistance from a few months to a couple of years.
However, the assistance you would provide could generally fall into one of three categories:
In terms of personal care, you would help someone complete ordinary daily tasks like grocery shopping, bathing, or seeing to meal prep. During home health aide training, you will learn how to assist clients who have trouble walking, by helping them go from a wheelchair to a cane or walker. For those with limited mobility, you might assist them in getting out of bed or provide a range of motion exercises and help them find better sleeping positions to prevent bed sores or other skin conditions as a result of their limited mobility.
During all this time, you will likely be offering them companionship. Studies have shown that personal interactions with others can help patients live longer. As a home health aide, you give regular companionship and provide mental stimulation and even joy to clients’ lives.
Lastly, in terms of light house care, you will ensure the homes in which your clients live are habitable. This might include washing dishes, running the laundry machine, and making sure the refrigerator is well stocked or picking up the clients’ prescriptions. Every little bit can help the client feel less stressed or burdened as they recover from an illness or try to live a full life while aging at home or enduring a chronic health condition.
This will of course depend on the types of patients/clients you will work with. If a patient requires live-in care, they are going to need the attention of one home health aide who will dedicate their time to just them. Patients you need just a few hours a day can have home health aides who work with multiple patients.
Working as a home health aide, the patients you are most likely to treat will be seniors living in their own homes. Sometimes, however, you may support a family who needs assistance taking care of an aging parent in their house, so you might work with a nuclear family in their home. Length of care can range, depending on the types of conditions the aging member of the family might have and need assistance managing.
To become a home health aide, you must be certified through a qualified training program. Typically, students in such programs must complete 100 hours in addition to hands-on work, but the set number of hours will vary from state to state. Organizations with a home health aide training program can include community colleges, nonprofit organizations, nursing facilities, and vocational schools. Apart from these expectations, aides must have completed high school or GED.
There are a few occupations similar to home health aides, from personal care aides to registered nurses.
Personal care aides provide personal care, along with some minor housekeeping. But unlike home health aides, personal care aides do not offer health care, and there are usually no training requirements, though this may vary among employers and certain states.
Certified nursing assistants provide basic nursing care under the supervision of a registered nurse or other licensed professional. Some basic nursing tasks might include bathing, eating, using the restroom, movement exercise or other simple therapies, changing bedding, or measuring vitals.
Some nursing assistants are trained to assist with prescriptions, but unlike home health aides, certified nursing assistants work in different health care settings besides the client’s home.
Registered nurses develop individual care plans, provide health care, and supervise other caregivers, including home health aides. When working with home health aides, registered nurses act as case managers and may offer hands-on nursing care to the client by administering medication received through syringe.
A registered nurse also has a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from 4-year university or an AA degree in nursing. In addition to this, a registered nurse will need to pass a state licensing exam.
Home health aides can make progress towards other medical certifications while working. They can earn certifications to work with cardiac patients or patients with mental health challenges. You can also gain the experience to later become a physical therapist or registered nurse.
Plus, there are plenty of job opportunities in the home health aide field. As generations like the Baby Boomers age, the demand for home health aides will continue to rise.
Ready to become a Brooks home health aide? Brooks accepts new and recent graduates. Review our FAQ page and apply online through the career portal. If you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to working with you!