Every situation in home health is a different and as such, every client is going to have a different set of needs and requirements to address their problems. This means that a common care team will be comprised of many different medical professionals with many different experiences and educational backgrounds. This diversity of experience can be a big boon in effective client care. Members of a normal healthcare team may include:
Home Health Aide (HHA) – The home health aide is the care worker responsible for making sure the day to day elements of the client care plan are executed faithfully. This can include delegated tasks such as taking vitals and medical recordings, providing personal care such as cleaning and grooming, bathing clients or even preparing meals. HHA’s easily spend the most time with their clients compared to anyone else on the client care team. This allows the HHA to be the “eyes and ears” of the greater team – observing improvements or declines in the clients situation, abilities or medical condition. This is a very important duty of the home health aide.
Case Supervisor or Manager – In most cases, the case manager will be a registered nurse. A case manager or HHA supervisor is assigned to each client directly by the HHA agency. With valued input from other team members, the case supervisor is tasked with creating the basic care plan for the client. The case manager will also monitor the feedback from the HHA, looking for any significant changes reported back by the HHA. Finally, if changes are required in the client care plan, this responsibility also falls to the case manager.
Registered Nurse (RN) – In a typical home health agency, a registered nurse will manage, coordinate and in some cases provide direct client care. RN’s are typically also responsible for the training of home health aides. Finally, they will develop the care plan for the HHA to follow in their daily routine.
Doctor (DO or MD) – The role of a doctor in the home care team is to help diagnose disability and disease and prescribe the resulting treatment. In order to be a doctor, one must have graduated from the arduous field of medical study – after they have already graduated with a bachelors degree from a traditional college. Many doctors continue to attend specialized training throughout their careers so as to stay current or on the cutting edge of medical technology and technique.
Physical Therapist (PT) – A physical therapist is tasked with administering physical therapy to the patients muscles, bones and joints in a number of varying stimulus forms including massage, cold, heat, ultrasound, electricity and when all else fails, exercise. That last bit was a joke – exercise should never be overlooked as a part of the physical therapists toolbox. The primary goal of physical therapy is to promote healing in the client. Secondary goals can include promoting blood circulation, helping the client regain mobility and easing long term pain.
Occupation Therapist (OT) – The goal of an occupation therapist is to help clients learn to address and compensate for their disabilities. For a typical home care client, an occupational therapist may assist in training for simple daily living tasks – otherwise known as activities for daily living or ADL’s – these can include actions such as eating, bathing, dressing and basic mobility.
Speech Language Pathologist / Therapist (SLP) – A speech language pathologist – colloquially known as a speech therapist – work to identify and address disorders related to communication. Normal SLP therapies help clients learn to overcome or at least improve speech impediments. SLP’s may also be involved in evaluating a clients ability to drink or swallow.
Registered Dietition (RDT) – A registered dietrition or common nutritionist help teach clients and their families about specially tailored diets that can improve client health – and help clients to manage their illness via diet.
Medical Social Worker (MSW) – A medical social worker is tasked with determining the needs of their clients and then coordinating those services. These services may include meal services, counseling, financial insurance and other items not necessarily covered by the various occupations in this liste.