Caring and compassionate people can enjoy a career as a certified home health aides. To become a certified home health aide, requirements related to education, training, and certification standards must be met. Candidates must also demonstrate a desire to help others and have specific personal skills to meet the needs of the position.
Home health aides help patients with everyday tasks. This includes helping to bathe and dress people who need assistance due to illness or injury. Other tasks that a home health aide can perform include those related to helping to keep the patient’s living environment clean. Examples of these tasks are doing laundry, completing light housekeeping, and changing bedding. Home health aides can also do some grocery shopping and prepare meals for clients.
The minimum education requirements must be met to become a certified home health aide. This includes earning a high school diploma or equivalent for consideration for employment with a wide range of employers. Employers can hire a candidate who demonstrates a readiness to learn and an aptitude for mathematics, even if they do not have a high school diploma, but a diploma is preferred for most employers.
The training usually occurs on the job for those looking to become certified home health aides. Typically, new hires will link up with experienced staff, including someone already certified as a home health aide or nurse, to gain valuable experience and training. This will include training in maintaining sanitary standards and taking various vital signs, such as pulse and blood pressure. The training will also focus on how to safely transfer patients in and out of bed.
Certification standards will vary by location. It will also typically require a minimum number of hours related to on-the-job training, which is typically provided by the employer. Once a candidate has gained the necessary experience, those seeking to become a home health aide can apply for certification after passing the necessary proficiency exams. In some areas, the proficiency exams may consist of a written exam, while in others the exam will consist of both a written and a practical exam.
Someone who wants to become a certified home health aide must also possess specific personality traits and abilities. Home health aides work with a wide variety of people in varied settings. They should feel comfortable interacting with people in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and at home. People seeking to enter the profession must also be friendly, compassionate, and honest. Home health aides may also have to pass a background check and drug test.
What does a home health aide do?
A home health aide cares for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive deficits, or age-related problems, who have the need or desire to continue living in their own home.
The home health aide provides basic services including administering medications, changing bandages, and monitoring vital signs such as temperature, and pulse and respiration rates.
Although a home health aide works independently, he or she is supervised by a medical professional, usually a registered nurse. be careful not to confuse home health aides with personal care aides who do not provide medical services of any kind.
Duties and responsibilities of the home health aide
Learn about the job duties to expect if you choose this career:
- Help clients dress and undress and maintain appropriate clothing
- Provide and assist with personal services such as bathing and grooming
- Accompany clients to their doctor visits
- Oversee the administration of prescription drugs to clients
- Help clients who cannot handle everyday household chores in their homes
- Follow a customer-specific care plan and report on tasks completed after each visit
Home health aide salary
The salary for a home health aide varies based on experience level, geographic location, and other factors:
- Median annual wage: $ 23,210 ($ 11.16 / hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $ 31,260 ($ 15.03 / hour)
- Annual wage less than 10%: less than $ 18,450 ($ 8.87 / hour)
Education, training and certification
Applicants receive on-the-job training and do not need to meet any specific educational requirements, although the job does include training:
- Education: Although you don’t need a high school diploma to become a home health aide, most people who work in this field have one. Since those are the candidates you will be competing with, it makes sense for you to stay in school.
- Training: Home Health Aides receive on-the-job training from Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, or Experienced Aides. some states require that anyone working in this occupation have formal training provided by trade schools, community colleges, and home health agencies.
- Assessment – Home health aides working for agencies that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement must, in accordance with United States law, complete a state approved training program and a competency assessment (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Home Health Agencies: State Operations Manual [pdf]). Some states impose even more stringent requirements on agencies that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Additionally, several states license, certify, or register home health aides. For information on requirements in individual states, see the Licensed Occupation Tool in Career Direction.
Home health aide skills and competencies
In addition to hands-on training, home health aides should have other “social skills” that can help them excel at their jobs:
- Interpersonal skills : in addition to the skills stellar listening and verbal communication must be able to connect with patients and their families on a personal level. Earning their trust is essential so that you can feel safe and comfortable.
- Time management skills – you will have to complete many tasks during your shift. the ability to prioritize them will help you get it all done.
- Detail-oriented : Home health aides have to keep track of many things: medications, vital signs, and appointments, for example. The ability to pay attention to detail is a must.
- Physical resistance : you will have to lift clients and perform other tasks that require strength.
Due to its excellent job outlook, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has designated this occupation as a “bright prospect.” The outlook for home health aides in the next decade relative to other occupations and industries is very strong, driven by aging baby boomers and the demand for home health care services.
Employment is expected to grow approximately 47 percent over the next ten years, which is much faster than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. Growth is projected for other health and personal care assistants to grow almost as fast, to 41 percent in the next ten years.
These growth rates compare with the projected 7 percent growth for all occupations.
Home health agencies employ most people, usually sending them to patients’ homes. About 20 percent of people work in continuing care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and centers for developmental disabilities.
The jobs are usually full-time, although some assistants have part-time schedules. Patient schedules often require working weekends, afternoons, and holidays. Night shifts and residence shifts are not uncommon.
How to get the job
Read the online applications and job descriptions to learn more about the daily job duties of a home health aide and assess whether you feel fit for the job.
You can go directly to the call centers’ website and apply for jobs posted on their sites. You can also find home health aide job listings on job boards such as Indeed.com, monster.com, and glassdoor.com.
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