Home Health Aides are also called a certified nursing assistant, a residential assistant, a home care giver and a patient care technician. They are there to help patients that need more care outside hospital settings.
The Home Health Aide or HHA reports to a registered nurse, physical therapist or other members of the health care profession as well as agencies working in home health care business. Due to the nature of her work, it is a requirement for the HHA to record all patient care performed.
Here below are the different patients a Home Health Aide attends to:
- Those with physical disabilities
- Those that is ill terminally
- Senior citizens
- Patients in a hospice
- Mentally disabled adults
- People recovering from sickness
- Mentally disabled children
- Patients with long-term sickness
Home Health Aides naturally work in their patients’ homes performing various tasks:
- cleaning and changing dressings
- monitoring patient respiration rate, pulse, temperature
- moving patients and helping them out of bed, into wheelchairs, cars, helping them bathe, sit on chairs, etc
- Help patients with their daily exercise
- Provide support emotionally and psychologically
- administer medications as prescribed by doctors
- Buy and prepare prescribed meals
- perform activities that help maintain patient’s mental health like conversing and reading aloud
- Help patient with personal hygiene, grooming, dressing, etc.
- Change patient’s beddings
Doing basic house work like cleaning, finishing the laundry, grocery shopping, etc. are also tasks done by a health aide as she sees necessary.
The Job Characteristics of a Home Health Assistant
Some HHAs work 40 hours a week and some work part time at lesser number of hours. Many work overtime, on weekends, night shifts and holidays as their patients almost always need 24 hour health care. State welfare agencies and private health centers typically employ HHAs however there are some who are self-employed.
Since their job calls for constant walking, standing and moving patients around, the HHA’s job can really get physically demanding. The job of an HHA also comes with the occasional occupational hazard like minor infections and exposure to major diseases. The duties of HHAs also include unpleasant tasks like emptying bedpans, changing soiled beddings, etc.
Although their jobs are physically and emotionally draining, HHAs still find it a gratifying one which enables them to play an important part in their patient’s life.
Home Health Assistants are known to have the following personalities and skills: precision and accuracy, emotional stability, patience and dependability, service oriented, sensitivity, honesty, discretion, physical strength and being able to resolve problems and keep calm under pressure.
Tena Polansky has been a CNA training coordinator for over 12 years and has a wide range of experience in training candidates for CNA, LPN, LVN and RN. She also teach some nursing students about home health aide as a career.