Hiring Home Health Aides
A home health aide works side by side with a patient and assists them in daily life. More than the physical assistance, they also provide emotional support by being a companion to each patient. The defining characteristic of an ideal home health aide is that they are, above all, compassionate.
In hiring a home health aide, the first step is to carefully assess and identify the specific needs of the patient who will require a home health aide. Is the patient geriatric? Pediatric? Are there particular health conditions to consider? Will the patient need to be transported to doctor’s appointments? What language does the patient speak? These factors must be included in the job description to set the proper expectations for candidates. Aside from general hiring platforms, job announcements may be posted on healthcare-specific sites and online communities.
Responsibilities of a Home Health Aide
Everything that a home health aide will do is established in a patient’s care plan. A home health aide is responsible for assisting patients in their daily lives with activities such as: personal hygiene, bathing, and dressing. This may also include checking vital signs (respiration, pulse, temperature, and blood pressure) and administering simple prescribed medication as directed or advised by a nurse or healthcare professional. A home health aide may be asked to teach and assist a patient in doing proper self-care techniques and other general health guidance.
Additionally, a home health aide may also be expected to do general light housekeeping or cooking, as well as make transportation arrangements for the patients (to the doctor’s office or clinic for consultations). These responsibilities are, of course, dependent on the specific needs of each patient.
Proper documentation and record maintenance are also important so that details of the patient’s daily care and condition may easily be reported to a doctor or nurse. A home health aide is responsible for observing the patient and immediately reporting any concerning reaction or, as needed, following their emergency plan.
Skills and Qualifications
The ideal candidate for a home health aide position is a person who is compassionate, trustworthy, and professional with excellent personal and communication skills. Candidates must have a High School diploma or a GED. However, additional certification for Home Health Aide training or Certified Nursing Assistants course may be required in some cases. Ideally, they must also possess updated CPR and First Aid Training certificates. Home Health Aides should be at least 18 years of age, have a driver’s license, and must pass a criminal background check.
Moreover, other qualifications include: attention to detail, ability to follow instructions and standard protocols regarding patient care, and the ability to lift fifty pounds. As the schedule may vary from patient to patient, flexibility to work on evenings, weekends, and even holidays is a plus.
A patient may have a particular set of needs that not all home health aides are capable of meeting. Finding the right home health aide who will fit the needs of a patient may be a challenge. But the right person is hired, they will impact the patient’s daily life immeasurably.