Home Health Aide

Pros


  • Those who work in this career find it satisfying as they are helping people in need by assisting in taking care of their daily needs.
  • This field is seeing a lot of demand and as such those in this occupation can expect excellent opportunities for employment.
  • There is a lot of variety in this job as home health aides will see many different patients having a wide array of needs.

Cons

  • This type of work encompasses more than just medical care for patients, and the work can be physically demanding.
  • Some home health aides need to work outside of normal work hours in order to meet the needs of patients.
  • There are unpleasant aspects of the job, as you will need to attend to some patients’ specific needs. You must not be squeamish.

Overview

Home health aides help people who are very ill or otherwise disabled. They can perform a variety of duties for patients to help make their lives easier. Along with checking vital statistics and attending to medical needs, a home health aide will also spend time to make sure that patients are living in a clean and comfortable environment. Because of this, they spend time doing some household duties for patients such as shop for groceries in addition to cleaning and preparing healthful meals.

On a day-to-day basis, home health aides provide for their patients health-related services to make sure they are medically stable. These tasks can include responsibilities such as checking patients’ pulse rate, temperature as well as their respiration rate. Health aides also may help with simple prescribed exercises and ensure that patients are taking the correct medicines. They can also spend time changing dressings, giving soft tissue massage, providing skin care or assisting with medical equipment such as braces. With special training, experienced home health aides also may assist with critical equipment such as ventilators that help patients breathe.

Home health aides usually work under the supervision of nurses and consult with therapists and physician’s assistants. Their places of employment are usually certified home health or hospice agencies that receive government funding and therefore must comply with regulations from the government.

Education

There are very few requirements for entrance into this occupation. A high school degree is sometimes required, but not always. Home health aides do need to have a clean driving record and must submit to a criminal background check. For those who are working for organizations that are reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid, they must become properly certified. This means that a trained program must be completed that lasts 75 hours. Along with training, a certifying exam must be taken as well.

Job Prospects

Excellent job prospects are expected for home health aides in the future. The aging population is increasing the demand for daily assistance. This is a good option for people who are no longer completely capable of taking care of themselves yet do not want to give up the privacy of living at home. Also impacting job growth is the fact that some home health aides are retiring or moving into other career fields.

Advancement Opportunities

There is some opportunity for advancement as a home health aide. Most entry level positions in this field involve doing household tasks for patients such as cleaning and cooking. After some time they can learn how to do more personal care duties. Many in this type of work pursue continuing education to become registered nurses. Others will gain experience for a few years and go on to work for themselves as a self-employed aide.