When you certify as a Home Health Aide (HHA) it qualifies you to work in any number of home care settings, and prepares you for a gratifying career as a professional caregiver. Home health care is a rapidly expanding field and even now the demand for home health and personal care trained professionals is at an all-time high. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has also made quite an amazing job outlook projection suggesting that about 1.3 million new Home Health Aide jobs are needed by 2020.
Formal Training Program
A career in home health care is gratifying in a sense that it allows for flexible hours and gives you the preference to make a difference in the lives of others. All you can do to become a certified Home Health Aide professional is to complete a formal training program. The formal training you receive prepares you to work as a personal care provider in a wide variety of home care settings. The training is doable with minimum prerequisites. You only have to pass a criminal background check and provide a recent negative test result for tuberculosis. And unlike most Certified Nurse Aide training programs, applicants to Home health Aide classes and training programs are usually not required to have a high school diploma or GED. The training curricula itself, however, must meet Federal Guidelines and those of the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).
There is a Federal-mandated minimum requirement of 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must take place in a clinical environment. Training can be completed in just a matter of weeks and you will then be eligible to sit for your State certification exam which includes hands on training with real patients. And all accredited Home Health Aide classes and training programs must cover the fundamentals of both home care and basic health-related sciences, and a dedicated clinical component as specifically spelled out in Title 42 of the U.S. Code for Public Health. Individual State requirements may apply which may increase the number of class hours and the amount of material you have to cover.
Once certified, you are allowed to perform basic health-related tasks (e.g. checking of a patient’s pulse rate), but the majority of a HHA’s work shift is usually spent assisting clients with housekeeping and personal care at their place of residence. During a typical work day, a HHA can expect to perform the following tasks:
Maintains safe, secure, and healthy client environment by following standards and procedures, following prescribed dietary requirements and nutrition standards.
Assists client with bathing, dressing, and grooming.
Helps schedule appointments and transportation for client.
Provide client with companionship and monitor well-being.
Assists with transfers and ambulation including use of cane, walker, and wheelchair.
Assists with medication as specified on plan of care.
Provides routine skin care.
Assists self-directing client with use of oxygen equipment.
Supports client by providing housekeeping and laundry services; shopping for food and other household requirements; preparing and serving meals.
Helps family members care for client by teaching appropriate ways to lift, turn, and re-position client; advising on nutrition, cleanliness and housekeeping.
Records client information by making entries in the client journal; notifying nursing supervisor of changing or unusual conditions.
Complete all other duties as assigned within the scope of practice.
Overall, what a Home Health Aide profession entails is all about creating a safe, effective environment for a client in terms of health promotion and maintenance, nursing skills, health care administration, client services, good verbal communication, listening, dependability, emotional control and medical teamwork.
Of course, the job involves performing tasks under the direction and supervision of a registered nurse. And the work requires adherence to practice procedures and standards involving a high degree of accuracy in observing, recording and reporting data.