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Home Health Care for Today’s Seniors

As our adult population in the United States continues to age and live longer, health care is a much talked-about topic. Hospital and long-term health care facilities are expensive, and family members want their loved ones to live well with health care and housekeeping assistance being brought into the home.

The home health aide is a professionally trained individual who can assist seniors and others with physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, speech and language rehabilitation or other needs related to recovery from injury, from medical incident such as stroke or heart attact or from surgery. While the term “in-home health care” is widely applied, the kind of care provided differs from discipline to discipline.

For example, a CNA, or Certified Nurse’s Aide, is an individual who helps individuals with their ADLs, or activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, toileting, meal preparation and shopping, checking vital signs and weight, helping with ROMs (range of motion exercises), planning diets and giving medications and treatments. CNAs also give invaluable emotional support and observe patients for changes in behavior and cognition.

Home care is preferred by seniors and family members alike. It leaves individuals in their own familiar place, giving them a sense of independence and belonging in the community at large. Additionally, home health care provides much-needed companionship, alleviating isolation, anxiety and loneliness that accompanies recovery from hospitalization or lengthy at-home recovery or illness.

Seniors who need basic day to day care benefit from someone competent and caring coming into the home. Patients in skilled nursing facilities often die sooner than people at home with similar health issues. Experts believe that institutionalization provides less friendship, comfort, love and familiarity than staying within the home environment.

The state of residence requires that the home health care aide be certified by the appropriate department of health. The individual must pass a certification exam before becoming licensed as a CNA (Certified Nursing Aide), and he must be drug tested and submit to a background check. Some states, such as California, do not have standards for home health aides. Florida and other states mandate licenses for various health care services.

Typically, a CNA assists the aged, debilitated or rehab patient with day to day tasks. An HHA, who is certified by the government, has more qualifications, more job opportunities, and higher pay.

As the senior population continues to grow in this country, the need for people to fill health care positions will grow. The HHA is an important bridge between the Registered Nurse (RN) and the individual who is in need of care.

There is a shortage of individuals who are willing to work in the health care field. As such, salaries are increasing; experienced home health aides can make $30,000 annually. Also, many practitioners begin their careers as home health aides and then get additional education to become Registered Nurses.

For personal satisfaction, opportunity, salary and chance for advancement, health care is a wide open and rewarding career in the United States today.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Shila says:

    Besides being a noble type of profession, the growing demand for medical services – the type that CNA’s and STNA’s can provide – is making this segment of the medical field quite attractive for younger persons. I used to stereo type this field, assuming it was only for immigrants from Heidi. After all, they did at one time, comprise the majority of the CNA jobs. But the recession, laggard job market and other factors have changed that.

  2. Thomas says:

    This is a good career path, but like any job, it has its downside. Any nurse worth their weight in water knows, understand, values and appreciates the function and role every CNA plays in the delivery of our patient care. And yet, I still see RN’s treating their CNA team member horribly. Here is the best piece of advice I can give to any RN out there when delegating to their CNA team members: Never delegate out of sheer personal convenience.

  3. Ronald says:

    Here’s a wonderful idea: patients and providers working together in shared decision-making, accepting and trusting each other’s input. Isn’t that the goal our health care system should strive for? Not so fast. Consumers who had doubts about their doctors (felt that providers didn’t have their bests interests in mind, didn’t respect their time and budget, or based treatment decisions on financial motives) were more apt to take actions indicating they are “engaged in their care.

  4. Richard says:

    For those who think that doctors and nurses won’t appreciate Nurse’s aide’s, each November, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice celebrates National Home Care Month to honor home care professionals who provide care and compassion to others while making remarkable differences in the lives of patients and the families they serve. If some haughty physicians won’t show their coworkers the respect, at least the industry in which they work will.

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