Do you genuinely enjoy assisting people who are in need of care and want to help improve their quality of life?
Do you enjoy being around the elderly or people with disabilities?
Do you want to have a career that provides flexibility for when and where you work?
Would you like to start a career that can lead you into many other careers in the health field, but yet does not require extensive training or a college degree?
Are you interested in how to become a Home Health Aide?
As a Home Health Aide (HHA) the quality care you give to your patients makes a world of difference to them and their loved ones. If you are compassionate, mature, and dependable, a HHA career may be just the right thing for you!
Learn how to become a home heath aide, find training, and a new job here at HowtoBecomeaHomeHealthAide.com!
HHA’s typically works independently while under the supervision of the patient’s registered nurse (RN) or physical therapist. The variety of services provided by a HHA depends upon their specialty, but typically includes the following:
- Administer prescription medicine
- Check vital signs – pulse rate, temperature, respiration rate
- Change bandages
- Physically move patient from one area to another (out of bed, bath, wheelchair, vehicle)
- Light housekeeping (laundry, change bed linens, sweep, dust)
- Provide massages to prevent bedsores
- Help with physical exercises and other therapies
- Bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Preparing meals as prescribed
- Support emotionally and psychologically for companionship/entertainment
- Provide transportation to doctor appointment or to go shopping
A good HHA has certain qualities making them best suited for this career field. Without having the right personality or traits, he or she may find this field to be emotionally draining since some of the duties performed can be displeasing.
The following lists certain qualities that define a well-suited HHA:
- Strong physical stamina
- Service oriented
- Good communicator
- Problem solver
- Time management abilities
If an HHA works for an employer that receives reimbursement from Medicare, Federal law requires that HHAs pass a competency test which covers a wide area of disciplines within home health care.
Each state varies in requirements to work as an HHA. To determine your state’s requirements, contact your state’s Board of Nursing via the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) for specific information on whether or not you must be certified or licensed, the type and amount of training required, and what types of exams you may need to pass.
In some states, you must become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) before taking the state exam. A background check may also be required by the state you live in.
An HHA can also be certified by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). Even if becoming certified is not mandatory, getting your certification will certainly increase your chance of being hired!
As a HHA, you can fulfill the requirements in various ways. HHAs may receive classroom training as a new hire from an employer or potentially have on-the-job training from another experienced HHA, registered nurse (RN), or licensed practical nurse (LPN).
You can receive formal training opportunities from:
- Local community colleges
- Vocational schools
- Elder care programs
- Home health care agencies
Typical coursework included in a training program include: HHA Introduction, Medical Terminology, Nutrition, Basic Life Support, and Medication Mathematics. If you work for an employer that receives federal government compensation from Medicare or Medicaid, you must complete at least a 75 hour training program along with 16 hours of supervised training.
Once training is completed, a new HHA may be required to complete a competency evaluation to ensure they can properly perform tasks as required for their patients.
Without additional or advanced training, advancement within the HHA field is limited.
The demand for quality HHA will grow fast mainly for the following reasons:
- The elderly population is continuing to grow and older clients often have health issues.
- Patients are increasingly relying on care at home because it less costly than staying in a hospital or a nursing home.
- Patients prefer to be cared for in their own home for comfort and familiarity.
As an HHA you can find a position in a variety of settings, including private home health agencies, health care services, nursing homes, residential care facilities, and state or county welfare agencies. In addition, you can be self-employed.
So what are the differences? As an HHA, you will generally work with one patient at a time in their own home. CNAs instead work in a care facility to be responsible for a group of patients simultaneously.
Another difference between HHAs and CNAs are the requirements for education and formal training. Schools that provide training require prospective CNAs to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Federal and state laws require completion of an approved post-secondary training program and thereafter passing a state exam.
As mentioned above, HHAs are not required to have a high school diploma or equivalent and the state you live in will determine if you need to complete a training program and/or get certified. Thus, requirements as a HHA are not always as rigorous as for a CNA.
The best way to increase your salary significantly is to attain higher education levels and obtain your HHA certification. Along with getting more education, you will also have more opportunities to transition into other areas with the medical field and earn a higher salary!
Career opportunities in the medical field are abundant and fast growing! Beginning your career as a HHA is a great way to help you decide if the medical field is right for you. While learning how to become a home health aide, be sure to continue getting education to help keep your career options open.