Using A Home Health Care Aide: What You Need To Know

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When you hire a home health care aide or personal care provider, it is important that this person has a clear idea of your needs. It would be helpful if you, or the significant people in your life, are knowledgeable about what a heath care aide can do to make your live easier and how to help one be of useful assistance to you.

General Duties and Training of a Home Health Care Aide

The first order of business is to know what personal care providers are trained to do. The state you live in will have some requirements for training of HHCAs (Home Health Care Aides) and possibly some restrictions on the scope of their practice.

Requirements of a health aide in your state may be:

  • To have on-the-job training and/or job experience in the healthcare field.
  • To have training in medication assistance.
  • To be certified as a nursing assistant (CNA) or as a home healthcare aide.
  • To have first aid and CPR certification.
  • To work under the supervision of a licensed medical professional.

You should know that some states do not allow HHCAs to assist with medications at all, or they have specific requirements and limitations on medication assistance and procedures.

Personal Care Providers will perform these duties for you:

  • Helping you to get up out of bed if you need assistance.
  • Help you shower and dress.
  • Help you with assistive devices.
  • Train your family members on how to help you safely and efficiently.
  • If allowed, they will help you take your medicines, making sure you have the right medication and dose, that you're taking it in the right way, and at the right time.
  • They may be trained to monitor your blood sugar and assist you with diabetes medication or do other specific chores related to your health condition.
  • Run errands.
  • Do some housekeeping chores, such as making the bed, doing dishes, or making sure the environment is safe, and there are clear pathways throughout your dwelling.
  • Take you to medical appointments.
  • Prepare food for you to heat up later.
  • Take your vital signs regularly. These are your pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate.
  • They make note of your physical and mental status and document any signs and symptoms, the vitals, and report these to medical staff.

Communication is Vital

It is helpful to remember that people who have chosen healthcare professions are usually concerned individuals who do want make your life easier and also want to cooperate with your family members to make sure your needs are covered. Their goal is help you be healthy as possible.

While HHCAs are trained and willing to be of assistance, they are not mind readers.  It is good to remember that an aide will have several clients to attend to with different needs and desires. Don't be shy about expressing what matters to you.

It helps if you or your family can write out objectives, and discuss these things with the aide beforehand, so she or he can make note of them. That way everyone can be clear about what duties will be performed.

Sometimes family members feel guilty about not being able to do more for you, and this may cause them distress. This unexamined emotion can cause a family member to become mettlesome or nitpicky with staff.  Your family and friends need to know that agency personnel do want to do their jobs correctly and have had specific training on how to best perform their jobs.

It important to understand what the policies of the agency are that the aide works for, and know what restrictions (including time constraints) they may have in caring for you. There are some actions they cannot take without direction from a licensed health care provider, and some things may not be allowed at all.

To Recap:

So, if you are a client (or a family member of a client), be clear about what your needs and desires are. Be sure to ask the Personal Care Provider or the agency, such as Argus Home Health Care, specific questions about what services are offered, policies of the agency, and what can be legally done by your aide.