Home Health Aide

Care Giver, Care Worker, Caregiver, Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA), Certified Medical Aide (CMA)   More Names
Certified Nurses Aide (CNA), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Companion, Direct Care Counselor, Direct Care Professional, Direct Care Worker, Direct Support Professional, Habilitation Training Specialist, Health Care Assistant, Health Service Worker, Health Support Specialist (HSS), Healthcare Associate, Home Attendant, Home Care Aide, Home Care Attendant, Home Care Giver, Home Care Provider, Home Health Aid, Home Health Aide (HHA), Home Health Aides, Home Health Attendant, Home Health Care Provider, Home Health Provider, Home Help Aide, Hospice Aide, Hospice/Home Health Aide, In Home Caregiver, Independent Living Specialist, Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA), Nurse's Companion, Nursing Assistant, Patient Service Representative, Resident Assistant, Resident Care Aide, Resident Care Associate, Resident Care Provider, Residential Aide, Residential Counselor, State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA)
Description

Assist elderly, disabled, chronically ill, or mentally-impaired children or adults with their daily living activities in the person's own home or in a residential care facility. Within a home, they perform routine housekeeping tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, washing dishes and running errands. At a residential care facility, they help patients move in and out of beds, baths, wheelchairs, and transportation vehicles; dress and groom patients; and entertain and talk with patients.

Home health aides in both settings check patients' pulse and other vital signs and give prescribed medicines as directed by doctors or nurses. They also provide patients and their families with emotional support and care instructions.

Home health aides work primarily for privately-owned companies, non-profit organizations, or local, state, or federal government agencies. They provide personal care, housekeeping, and routine medical treatment services in a person's own home or at a residential care facility. The amount of time a home health aide is needed will be determined by each patient's individual situation - from short-term as with recovery from a surgery to long-term as in the case of a terminal illness. In addition, home health aide services may be delivered for one client or several over the course of a day, week, or month.

When working for a company, organization, or government agency in a home or residential care facility setting, home health aides are supervised by a doctor, licensed nurse, or manager. In home settings, they will receive detailed instructions describing when to visit clients and what services to provide for them, but they work largely independent of any on-site supervision. In residential care facility settings, home health aides are more directly managed.

On a day-to-day basis in home-based settings, home health aides will usually follow a pattern of cooking, cleaning, and other household and personal care tasks, but with some flexibility in the daily schedule needed. For example, some days may be filled with doctor, rehabilitation, or other outside appointments with the patient while other days are more stay at home.

On such heavy outside appointment days, they also may be required to provide transportation either using company or public transportation, or private vehicles. In residential care facility settings, home health aides also tend to have a schedule of activities. In addition to serving meals, these often include moving patients in and out of bed, washing and dressing them, and providing exercise, entertainment, and conversation.

Home health aides need to prepare and keep records of patient progress, problems, and services performed, reporting these to managers, supervisors, and family members. They also may be responsible for the monitoring of a patient's vital signs and giving medications according to the instructions of registered nurses, doctors, or other medical personnel. Additionally, they participate in case reviews and consult with the whole team that is caring for a patient, helping to assess the client's needs and making plans for continued services. As a result of these plans, they then will help patients adjust to new personal or family lifestyle changes.

While home health aides often provide many of the same personal care and housekeeping services as personal care aides, there also are several key differences. In general, these differences relate to the eligibility of their employers for federal Medicare and Medicare reimbursement payments. The employer of home health aides who have this training and credentialing can receive these payments, while the employer of personal care aides cannot. Some states also permit a somewhat broader range of supervised nursing services by home health aides when compared to their personal care aide counterparts.

Advancement opportunities for home health care aides can be limited, but a willingness to obtain more education and training in fields such as nursing, for example, can lead to careers as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN).

Credentials Needed: In general, there are no state licensing or registration requirements to work as a home health aide; nor is there a required industry-based certification for this occupation. However, home health aides who work for employers that receive federal Medicare and Medicare reimbursement payments for the services that these aides provide, must meet certain federal training and credentialing requirements.

Typically, home health aides are employed by companies or organizations that are state certified as home health or hospice providers. As a result these companies or organizations may qualify to receive federal Medicare and Medicare reimbursement funding for services provided by their home health aide employees provided two conditions are met.

First, home health care aides employed by such companies or organizations receiving these federal reimbursements must work under the direct supervision of a medical professional, such as a registered nurse or physician. This supervision continues even when the home health aide is working at a patient's home and the supervisor is located at a headquarters facility.

Second, home health care aides must receive a minimum level of training if they provide services for which their employer is reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. In these cases, a training program must consist of a minimum of 75 hours and include a competency evaluation or state certificate.

Home health aides also may choose to voluntarily receive training and earn credentials in such areas as basic First Aid and CPR. In addition, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) sponsors a voluntary certification for personal and home care aides. The Home Care Aide Certification program establishes national standards for the preparation of personal and home care aides and is composed of three competency-based elements: training, skills demonstration, and a written exam. The NAHC reports that this program has certified over 25,000 home care aides nationwide since it began.

Some Key Things to Remember: Home health aides assist elderly, disabled, chronically ill, or mentally-impaired children or adults with their daily living activities in the person's own home or in a residential care facility. They work primarily for privately-owned companies, non-profit organizations, or local, state or federal government agencies. Although there are no state licensing or registration requirements to work as a home health aide, those who work for employers that receive federal Medicare and Medicare reimbursement payments must meet certain federal training and credentialing requirements.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
38% - Much faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $19,890 - $25,760    Hourly: $10 - $12
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)
 
      

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

38% - Much faster than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $19,890 - $25,760

Hourly: $10 - $12