A home health aide is responsible for helping disabled, elderly, and chronically ill people perform daily tasks. This job is often times confused for similar ones such as a home caregiver. The main difference between these two jobs is that a home health aide works in the patient’s home rather than at a special facility.
The job can be quite demanding as it involves helping others with various everyday activities, but it is definitely rewarding. In order to be successful in this type of working environment, it is important to develop certain characteristics. People that do best in this career are often; caring, patient, energetic, and sympathetic.
Home health aides have one of the most versatile jobs known today. Their job tasks can be anything from simple daily activities to more complicated things such as monitoring the patient’s vital signs.
Common job duties include; changing dressings, medication administration, helping with braces and other body devices, assisting with prescribed exercise routines, maintaining medical records, giving massages, dressing, bathing, maintaining the home clean, buying groceries, running errands, preparing meals, and caring for patient’s children if necessary. With the proper home health aide training, workers are also able to perform other tasks that involve special medical equipment such as ventilators.
Home Health Aide Training and Education
Education options are available online as well as off. Online courses are often hybrid, meaning you’ll be doing part of the learning online and the other part in a live classroom or hospital facility. This is mainly due to the fact that the job is very hands on. Each U.S. state has different laws regarding certification/licensure for home health aides. Some do not require special education, while others do. Home health aides can be self-taught or are often times trained by other health care professionals.
Obtaining a license as a home health aide is considered voluntary because it is usually not required. Even so, getting the proper home health aide training and education will help you be more successful in the job and increase the chances of a higher pay. A minimum training of 75 hrs. is required in order to become certified to work with a home health aide agency.
Before the employee can work independently, it is also necessary that he undergoes 16 hrs. of supervised hands on training. Home health aides have the option of extending their certification with The National Association for Home Care and Hospice. It is required that you have at least 75 hrs. of training, that you pass a hands on test involving 17 different skills, and lastly that you pass a written exam.
Home Health Aide Salary
The level of home health aide training that is provided as well as your overall experience directly affects how much you earn. On an average, a home health aide professional makes $21,000 annually (for entry level workers) and $26,000 for more experienced employees. Iowa, Wyoming, Texas, Alaska, Connecticut, and Massachusetts offer the highest paying salaries, in total averaging to about $30,301 per year. Home health aides are paid anywhere from minimal wage up to $14/hour.
Job Growth Potential
The home health aide career is currently one of the fastest growing occupations. There is a demand for replacements now, and it is expected that in the future it will be even higher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be about a 50% increase in employment for home health aides by the year 2018. This makes it the second fastest job category in the county! The job outlook is positive, as the number of elderly people is rising. Health aides will have no problem with job placement in the future. SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although pay for this career is a bit low, the options being made available for home health aide training and the high demand for workers is helping increase the salary. In fact, a rise in pay has already been noted over the last couple of years.
A home health aide truly makes a big difference in a person’s life. Unlike most other jobs, it gives you the opportunity to connect with the patient and understand them so that you can better help them. This career is without a doubt perfect for those that are passionate about helping others in need. As a home health aide, you will allow a person to live their life to the fullest with your care.
Interview Video With A Few Home Health Aides
Here’s a video from utopia home care that provides a few interviews that give you a good idea of what it’s like working as a home health aide.