A Home Health Aide (HHA), also called a home caregiver or a personal support specialist, is a person who provides care to the sick, convalescing, aging, or disabled persons in their homes or at a residential facility. The type of care the aide offers includes regular personal health care, which refers to bathing, grooming, and dressing the client; services of a medical nature like administration of oral medicine, changing dressings, checking respiratory rates, pulse, and temperature, under the supervision of a registered nurse or other medical personnel. Furthermore, an aide may also be required to accompany clients to their regular medical check-ups, do laundry, clean the house, do dishes, and prepare meals.
The increasing demand for home health aide training is attributed to the rising number of elderly people in the US. In addition, more and more people prefer to recover from the comfort of their homes under the care of a professional who has undergone home health aide training, as opposed to doing so in the hospital.
Consequently, there has been need to provide home health aide training to homecare givers to enable them act professionally. They also learn various skills within this field that would allow them operate competently with little supervision. Although homecare giving does not require one to have any formal education, federal law proposes that anyone interested in this field undertake a minimum 75 hours of classroom and practical training, all these under the scrutiny of a registered nurse.
The aide should have a pleasant personality, be jovial, compassionate, and act professionally. On completing home health aide training, the aides will be able to perform different homecare tasks such as lifting, bending, carrying, reaching, as well as offering nursing services like transferring the patient from the bed to a chair, and performing exercises with the patients.
Home health aide training courses are offered at different learning institutions including community colleges, vocational schools, elderly care institutions, and at home healthcare agencies. The courses are about two to three weeks in duration. They cover a range of topics including fundamental nutrition, maintaining a safe, clean environment, essential nursing procedures, communication skills, various motion exercises and personal hygiene. They also learn how to handle emergencies, bio-psychosocial support, taking care of geriatric clientele, responsibilities of a legal and ethical nature, and supervised homecare management. It is advisable to research on the institutions offering homecare training before joining one so that you get the best training available.
Home health aide training also provides homecare givers with relevant skills to handle different health conditions. These include persons suffering from debilitating conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, patients in a hospice, disabled persons, to clients suffering from stroke, heart disease, or paralysis. The homecare giver should competently be able to assist his clients under minimal direct supervision.
Statistics in 2009 indicate that home health aide jobs in the US were about 955,220. Majority of these jobs were in home health agencies, residential care institutions, and in personal homes. It is also projected that between 2008 and 2018, home care jobs will have increased by 50%, translating to 450,000 more jobs throughout the country in the coming decade. Thus, the jobs prospects of those with home health aide training are bright indeed heading toward the future.
Home health agencies are the largest source of employment in this field. They make up 35% of all employment within the home health service sector. Residential facilities that deal with mental health, and patients struggling with substance abuse, account for 20% of the homecare jobs. Other employers topping this list include nursing care institutions, private individuals, family service agencies, and community facilities for the old.
On average, the wage rate of a home health aide is about $10.52 an hour. The average annual salary may be about $21,620. No license is required to be a home health aide, although some states may require you to register as one. In general, there is no telling how diverse the opportunities are when you have home health aide training.