3 Major Parts of a Home Health Aide’s Typical Day
What is a Home Health Aide?
Home Health Aides provide necessary roles in society where they assist individuals needing medical help in several ways. Understanding what a day in the life is like for someone in this career can be beneficial to others interested in the field. A great way to get more insight on this career is to research what day-to-day responsibilities and tasks Home Health Aides partake in. Since Home Health Aides work in the medical field, much of their work is structured similarly to nurse aides and personal caregivers. However, instead of performing these duties inside a hospital or clinic, Home Health Aides operate within their patients’ homes. This allows them to form a deeper relationship with patients, as there is a larger sense of privacy, confidence, and comfort for the patient.
The Beginning of the Shift
Home Health Aides (HHA) are assigned to patients who need both short-term and long-term care. In the field, the patients they’re assigned to can vary, as some people may only need care for a short period after a traumatic accident, while others may need an aide for the rest of their lives. An HHA will often meet with nurses or doctors before they meet with their patient to review any problems or changes they might encounter while they are caring for their patient. After doing so, the aide will typically call their patient to confirm the appointment, as oftentimes patients can forget their appointment, at which point, the Home Health Aide will need to work on rescheduling the patient and fitting them into their availability. Then, finally, as the last step of the beginning part of the day, an HHA will pack up all the needed equipment to treat their patient for the day and then head over to the patient’s home.
The Duration of the Shift
The duration of the shift occurs once the Home Health Aide arrives at the patient’s home. Working in a patient’s home versus a hospital or other healthcare facility has advantages as well as challenges. Since HHAs need to drive to and from their patients’ homes rather than being stationed in one building all day like a nurse or medical assistant, Home Health Aides get breaks in between visiting their clients. However, while a hospital environment has guaranteed degrees of sanitation, working in people’s homes does not. A home may lack proper heating or air conditioning, have garbage/hoarding issues, or be prone to unseen allergens/toxins. Typically, these are extreme cases, but they still exist; Home Health Aides should be extra cautious in their work environment due to these risks. Wearing proper protective gear such as gloves or masks is vital to keeping both themselves and their patients safe and protected at all times.
The actual tasks done in a home by a Home Health Aide can vary depending on the treatment a patient requires. Some examples of typical tasks include basic everyday activities while others may be done on a semi-regular basis. Typically, for a patient that requires a lot of help, an HHA will be required to take care of their medical needs by administering oral medication or giving injections, massaging/exercising the patient’s muscles/joints to increase their blood flow and feeding them. Often times, aides also need to perform physical labor to help transfer patients. This includes helping them move in and out of beds or couches, baths, vehicles, and wheelchairs to help dress, bathe, or clean them. Throughout a shift, a Home Health Aide will usually need to keep medical records of everything done for the patient throughout the shift so their condition, progress, and any problems can be recorded and reviewed for later use. Making sure things such as pulse, temperature, respiration, and vital levels are steady is very important.
Other tasks include running errands for them like picking up supplies or groceries. Because an HHA is there to support a patient both physically and emotionally, oftentimes, an HHA also entertains their patient. They may simply have normal conversations with their patient, read to them, or play basic games to keep them mentally healthy and alert. In other cases, an HHA may be responsible for caring for a sick/disabled child or those who have sick/disabled parents. It all depends on the client and the needs for their age and condition.
After the Shift Ends
The last part of a typical day for a Home Health Aide includes the paperwork that follows the session with the client. Some HHA’s prefer to do their paperwork while in the presence of their patients’ homes, while others choose to fill out their forms in their car afterwards or even at their own home so they don’t take away time spent with their patient. Understanding the major parts and tasks that make up a Home Health Aides’ day can help individuals decide if this is a career interest for them.
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