Health care is one of the most popular topics today, as the population continues to grow older. With hospital or old age homes costs on the rise, people need other solutions to help their loved ones live a better, longer life, such as with domiciliary care. Home health aides are licensed professionals that can provide a variety of duties, and they differ from other help that provides non-medical care.
Home Health Aide Duties
The duties of a home health aide vary from one case to another, and from one licensed aide to another. Some mainly provide medical care, and it would be uncommon for them to help their patients with eating, bathing, cleaning their homes, or preparing their meals.
Instead, these professionals would be those actually licensed in their domains, such as registered nurses or social workers, for example. These may also include physical therapists or occupational therapists, to help rehabilitate patients after surgery, an illness, or an accident. It would even include language and speech pathologists to help with recovery, such as teaching patients to speak.
Although the different terms that describe in-home care are used loosely, there are differences between the health care providers. Only recently are distinguishable terms used to decipher between them.
A CNA, or certified nurse’s aide, is yet another opportunity to be had in the health care industry, and one that is greatly sought after. For one thing, many seniors and even the general population agree that it’s better to rehabilitate or care for someone in their own home, for many different reasons.
Such an individual would fall under the category of home health aide, and would generally assist patients in their daily tasks, including, but not limited to:
- Using the toilet
- Dressing and undressing
- Preparing meals and grocery shopping
- Getting into and out of bed
- Observing and recording progress or behavior changes
- Regularly checking blood pressure, pulse, and temperature
- Recording the patient’s weight
- Assisting the patient with motion exercises
- Assisting in collecting specimens for tests
- Helping in dietary planning
- Hospice care
- Administering medication and treatments (enemas, catheters, etc.)
- Providing emotional support
The Benefits of Having Home Care
For patients of all ages, having home care, as opposed to being institutionalized, is preferred because it allows them to be in their own surroundings, maintaining some form of normalcy. Clients can be given much of the health care and other services they require in the comfort of their own home, often surrounded by loved ones, and living independently in their community.
Other benefits clients experience include companionship, which is second to none when recovering from an ailment, surgery, or an accident. They are spared the loneliness that so many others must endure, often lending to a more speedy recovery. All the while, they benefit from the physical assistance necessary immediately after being discharged from a hospital.
In the case of seniors who aren’t able to care for themselves, companionship and being in familiar surroundings has proven over the years to be very beneficial to them, in comparison to those who are institutionalized. It is believed that patients who are institutionalized often pass sooner than those in home care because they lack companionship, love, and familiarity.
Each state requires certification acquired from the state department of health. A worker is certified after passing an exam as a Certified Nursing Aide, or CNA. Before becoming licensed, the individual will undergo drug testing and a background check. However, some states do not certify home health aides, such as California, so there are no minimum standards. Florida, as well as many other states, on the other hand, do require licensing for some services.
Companies who hire home health aides almost always run background checks and do reference checks. Many of them provide training for their staff.
A typical CNA who is a home health aide helps elderly, chronically ill or rehabilitating patients with their everyday tasks. A home health aide with government certification will be more qualified and have been better trained than their non-certified counterpart, meaning more work opportunities and better wages.
With the increasing aging population of the United States, health care providers of all types are experiencing a surge in demand, including the ever-popular home health aide. This surge, in combination with certification also translates into more job satisfaction. This particular health care provider is an all-important link between the registered nurse and the patient.
As a result of the shortage of people in the field, one can take advantage of the situation and benefit from a higher salary. Depending on experience, a home health aide can expect to earn up to $30,000 per year in this rewarding profession. While this profession is satisfactory for many, some do use this as a stepping stone to furthering their studies to earn a registered nursing degree.