As we mentioned in our previous article, some home health aides may be called upon to make home visit. This may be for an initial client evaluation but setting that aside, the whole nature of the home health aide profession is to spend hours each day with each client to provide the HHA services have described such as personal health care and errand running. It is most common that a HHA’s supervisor will provide input on – and sometimes go so far as to develop – the personal care assignments and client care plans. During this process feedback is required from all members of the patient care team as well as the patient themselves. In the home health care industry, supervision is required and enforced for all of the skilled professionals and team members working on a particular case. Especially when talking about a home health aide, it can be assured that there will be supervision from a professional such as a physical therapist, speech therapist or registered nurse.
It is not lost on most aides that working as a home health aide is in many cases quite similar to working as a nurse’s aide or nursing assistant – in fact many states require that a potential HHA BE a certified nurses assistant (CNA). That said, in addition to the typical medical duties and procedures that are required of a CNA, there are many personal care type duties that fall onto the job description of a home health aide. Some of these can include:
Housekeeping & Cleaning – This is a fairly variable job duty as the amount of housekeeping required will depend significantly on how much time you are assigned to work on a given case. Since tasks for a HHA must be prioritized, cleaning and housekeeping often times are of lesser import when compared to medical treatments. Time only permits so many tasks in any given case.
Family Point Of Contact – As a critical team member dedicated to the care of your client, part of your responsibility will be coordinating and communicating with the patient’s family. You should encourage the patient’s family as much as you can to help contribute towards the goals of your patient care plan.
Independent Aide – Home Health Aides will spend a large portion of their day working independently from other health professionals. There is of course monitoring, and supervisors, but most of the time spent on a given case will be spent one on one with your client – and without direct supervision. This is without question a large responsibility.
Communicator – We already mentioned this once before but it bears repeating – a successful HHA is a successful communicator. Communication skills are important to any home aide. The HHA must keep themselves up to date in changes related to the patient care plan which requires professional communication. The HHA must also keep other team and family members informed of variances or changes observed in the patient and patient environment.
Transportation – The responsibility to get to client meeting and patient domiciles falls squarely on the HHA. As the home health aide, you will need to ensure you can reliably and safely make it from one client’s home to another. This requires a dependable mode of transportation whether it be public or private.
Safety Management – Simply put, the HHA must remain vigilant and aware of their own personal safety when making visits to patients – especially when alone.
Flexibility – Since every client’s situation is different, it is crucial that a HHA be adaptable and flexible. The HHA must be able to work to each specific clients needs and care plan.
Manners – Never forget that when you are in the client’s home, you are a guest. You must remain respectful of the client, their belongings and their ways or customs at all times.
Manage the Comfort of the Client – The chief benefit of utilizing a home health aide from a client perspective is that the client gets to stay in the comfort and privacy of their own home! This can be a critical component of a successful health plan.
In the end, as a home health aide, you are an important part in a greater team of health professionals that may include other nurses, physicians, social workers, therapists and even more specialized professionals. Aside from healthcare professionals, the client’s family form the other half of a successful healthcare team. Everyone involved in the home health process will need to work together in order to help clients fully and successfully recover from injuries or illness. Even in cases where a full on recovery is not possible, it is the responsibility of the health team to do as much as they can for the client.