Home Health Aide Duties
Home Health Aides (HHAs), also known as home care assistants and home care aides, help care for people who are physically or mentally ill, injured, or disabled. A home health aide also takes care of infirmed individuals confined to the home or living in residential care facilities and those with disabilities that work outside of the house. These home care aides are under the supervision of a nurse, and they work closely with family members regarding the provision of care. (1).
The elderly tend to prefer to age in the place they are familiar with and love. The benefit of a home health aide makes this possible for them. As the number of seniors who choose to stay at home increases, home health workers can empower their client to maintain some level of independence and live on their terms. (3)
Are You Hiring a Home Health Aide For Your Loved One?
Elite Care at Home is a home health agency servicing Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties in South Florida. Our trained and certified home health aides offer you and your family good quality home health services and care.
Don’t be surprised if your family member isn’t too keen on having a home health care aide in the beginning. They may reject the help or feel they can take care of themselves. Each case is different, as are the individual needs of each person. It’s best to have an open conversation with the one who will receive the care to see their comfort level and the best route to take when tailoring home care for them.
You may have noticed a few things regarding your loved ones and their ability to take care of themselves. When parents or spouses approach retirement age, at some point, you will need to investigate home health care. If your family member cannot care for themselves, or your current caregiver’s ability to help is exhausted, a paid caregiver will most likely be your next step. Some warning signs to look for in your loved one are: (2)
- Forgetfulness- leaving the stove on
- Wandering away from the house
- Poor nutrition, irregular eating, not able to prepare simple meals
- Poor hygiene and not taking baths regularly
- Falling and difficulty walking without assistance
- Unsafe driving
What is a Typical Job Description For a Home Health Aide
A home care assistant can either live in the home with the care recipient or have regular shifts. HHAs are health care paraprofessionals that passed state-approved health training in vitals, primary care, infection control, personal care and emergency procedures. This training and certification are what differentiates a home health aide from a personal care aide. (3). Home health aides provide routine services that the care recipient can no longer handle, but they also serve as companions and allow time-off for overworked family caregivers. (2) Here are some responsibilities they are trained to assist with:
- Daily living activities– including dressing, eating, grooming, bathing, and using the restroom
- Light Housekeeping – laundry, dishes, and changing bed linens
- Shopping- groceries and toiletries
- Transportation to and from doctor appointments
- Vital signs– check blood pressure, respiration, and pulse
- Monitoring the physical and mental condition- managing exercise level, nutrition, and bathroom visits
- Emergencies– accidents, heart attacks, stroke, etc.
What to Look for in a Home Health Aide
One of the first things you will need to do when selecting a professional caregiver is finding a home care agency. It will take a little time and research, but it will be worth it in the end. Your loved one’s condition is unique, so you want to ensure that the chosen caregiver is suited to their needs and situation. A good home care company should be able to assist you with this selection process.
After you choose your home care agency, expect a representative from the company to set up a meeting with you and your loved one so they can perform an in-home assessment. After the initial meeting and evaluation, the company should allow you and your family to interview prospective caregivers. Here are a few traits to keep in mind when hiring a home care aide: (4)
The in-home care industry covers a broad field of services ranging from companionship to certified nursing care. A home health aide and caregiver have experience caring for a diverse list of patients. You want to focus on the skills and experience they have that pertains to your loved one. During the interview process, be sure to ask about specifics regarding their previous caregiving experiences. For example, do they have experience caring for someone with diabetes, or can they accommodate dietary restrictions for meal preparation?
A reputable home health company will hire employees that meet federal and state guidelines but don’t solely rely on them for this assurance. It is wise to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your state and on the federal level. You want to choose a home health aide with the proper training or certification regarding your loved one’s needs. When an agency requires their employees to receive continued education and training in addition to state regulations, it is a good sign of the quality of work they provide.
Elite Care at Home is available 24/7 to answer your questions and concerns about our services, training, and certification requirements. If your loved one suffers from a health issue like dementia, ask about certification in dementia care. You want to make sure the chosen caregiver is a good match for your family member and their unique condition.
You want a professional home health worker that has good verbal communication skills. During your meeting with them, you will get a first look at their level of communication. Ask about their experience and methods for keeping clients calm and their problem-solving skills and techniques. You want to have a good idea of how they will handle certain situations that may arise with your family member. A professional HHA needs to be able to communicate with you and your loved one clearly and openly. There should be a consistent open dialogue about your loved one’s care plan and any adjustments needed along the way.
When looking for an HHA, you not only need someone that holds the necessary certifications and licenses but a person that can also serve as a companion. This person will spend a lot of time with your family member, so they need to be compassionate. The ability to empathize and be attentive are great qualities in a caregiver, and it helps to build a trusting relationship between the HHA and the patient. There are ways to find out more about a potential caregiver’s personality. You should inquire about their interests and personal life. Having this insight will help with matching your family member with the best home health aide.
If your reason for seeking home health care services is relieving a family caregiver due to burnout, then you know that patience is a virtue in this line of work. The elderly can suffer from health conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease and the previously mentioned dementia, that take a lot of patience and compassion to handle. Ask questions about their history with demanding clients and how they managed it.
What Services Don’t Home Health Aides Provide
The dos and don’ts of the HHA are based on whether the patient’s home care needs require a licensed caregiver or not. Certification and licenses are different in each state. Guidelines must be established on the home care company’s end with their employee and communicated with you and your family. If your loved one’s condition does not require a licensed home care worker, there are some things that you should keep in mind when asking them to perform specific tasks.
Unlicensed caregivers are not allowed to issue medication of any kind, mix medication, fill up reminder boxes, give medical advice, perform medical assessments, or provide medical care. (5) If you feel that the patient will need this kind of assistance or their condition changes over time, speak with your chosen home care agency to ensure you receive the best of care for your family member.
Here at Elite Care At Home, we make sure that your family member is matched with a suitable home health aide and can accommodate any adjustments in their care plan.
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