What Does A Home Health Aide Do?

"I’m currently applying for jobs and I came across a hospice looking for a home health aide. I’m not sure what the job entails so I need your help. What does a home health aide do?"

asked by Dexter G. from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Home health aides work in clients’ homes and in residential care facilities, large and small. They take care of patients who are chronically sick or disabled and seniors who need round-the-clock care while at home. They can also help those who are cognitively impaired. They typically work together with a nurse or another healthcare professional.

One of the tasks of home health aides is providing basic health services to clients. They can take the clients’ vital signs like his temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate. If they have obtained advanced training, they can assist those hooked on ventilators and other medical devices. They may also help a patient put on their artificial limbs and aid them with their walking aids. If they are caring for a patient with a wound, they clean the affected area and change the dressing regularly. They also administer medicine at the scheduled times.

Record-keeping is an important part of the job of home health aides. They see to it that they document what the vital signs are at particular times and when medications were given. In the event that there are sharp changes in the patients’ vital signs, they will notify the doctors or nurses who will decide what steps need to be undertaken to improve the patient’s condition.

Home health aides may also help clients with the activities of daily living. The elderly, especially, may need help with bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom. In some cases, the aides may be assisting patients who are much larger than they are and as such, they become prone to back injuries from the heavy lifting. If they are assisting patients with mental health issues, they also have to guard against violent behaviors. These are the reasons why home health aides have a higher rate of injuries compared to that of other occupations. By following the proper procedures, these events can be avoided.

Home health aides are also responsible for keeping the patient’s home clean and habitable. After caring for the client, they may clean the house, wash the dishes and do to the laundry. They may also shop for groceries and cook for their clients, always ensuring that the recipes are prepared following any special meal requirements for his condition.

An important part of the job of home health aides is seeing to it that the patient does not miss medical appointments or other meetings. If the patient needs to meet his doctor for regular medical checkups at a specific date each month, the aide has to make certain that this date is not missed. If he has an appointment with the acupuncturist every two weeks, the aide sees to it that these are not missed.

Home health aides should not only think that their job is confined to providing for their clients’ medical needs. An important aspect of care is giving companionship to their clients. Those who care for the elderly often go out of their way to listen to their clients so that they develop lifelong friendships with them.

Career Spotlight: Home Health Aide

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