Home health aides are health care support workers who assist patients with disabilities at their home with daily tasks such as preparing food, bathing, grooming and attending medical appointments. Mostly, they work with the elderly and play the role of caregivers. If being a home health aide interests you, this page will help you with tips to help you build out your career.
Let us begin by looking at three resume samples of home health aides, as per the experience of the particular individuals:
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Job Duties of a Home Health Aide
A home health aide offers routine assistance to patients ranging from children with disabilities and cognitive impairment to elderly patients with chronic disabilities. They work with individuals of all age groups, but mostly with senior citizens. Here are specific job duties that are common for all home health aides:
Taking care of primary medical care, including checking vitals, monitoring wound healing, changing bandages, and administering medicines.
Assisting with routine tasks like bathing, getting dressed, grooming, toileting, and feeding.
Helping patients to move in and out of beds, wheelchairs, vehicles and bathrooms.
Preparing or assisting in preparing meals.
Helping with light housekeeping like vacuuming and laundry.
Shopping for groceries and medicines.
Facilitating patients exercise and participation in activities to keep them physically and mentally fit.
Taking patients to medical appointments.
Consulting and interacting with doctors and nurses to understand the medical requirements and care needs of individual patients.
Following the specified medical care accurately, keeping records of any changes and new symptoms.
Offering companionship to patients by spending time with them reading, talking, taking them for a walk, and playing interactive games with them.
Home Health Aide Average Salaries
As per PayScale, the average salary of home health aides is $29,897. A home health aide who is beginning their career can earn an annual hourly wage of $10.70. An experienced home health aide with more than 20 years of experience can earn an average wage of $12 per hour.
Top Skills for Home Health Aides
A successful home health aide requires a combination of hard and soft skills to provide efficient services to the patients. Here are some of the top skills that you should have or develop if you want to become a home health aide:
- Medication management: Medication management means ensuring that the patients are taking the proper medication as prescribed by doctors. As a home health aide, you are also responsible for filling the pill boxes with medication and reminding the patients to take them. Apart from this, you may also have to observe, record, and inform doctors whether the drugs positively or negatively impact the patients.
- Interpersonal skills: As you have to interact with another human being daily, having strong interpersonal skills is crucial. You have to communicate with the patient and be able to listen and empathize with them. Moreover, as you would be helping the patient with their daily routines, you have to be respectful. Effective communication with the patient, family members, and primary health care professionals is important for this job.
- CPR certification: As a home health aide, you may encounter specific medical emergencies. In such situations, knowing first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can be lifesaving, and each day, more employers seek these skills. Taking a CPR Certification Course and a first-aid class will teach you the techniques to help a patient in distress until medical aid arrives.
- Meal preparation: Home health aides may have to prepare meals for their patients or assist them with meal preparation. You have to know about the basics of nutrition and different types of diets, what meals to prepare, and how to prepare certain meals as per the nutritional and diet requirements of the patient. Home health aide certification programs usually have a module that focuses on meal preparation.
- Physical strength and stamina: Home health aides have to lift patients to transfer them to and from bed, turn the bedridden patients, shift furniture, and even carry groceries or heavy equipment. In addition, you have to be on your feet for long hours. Physical fitness and stamina are of utmost importance for this reason.
- Senior care: Home health aides are most likely to work with senior citizens. Completing gerontology training helps you understand the process and challenges of offering high-quality care to elderly patients. Recognizing common geriatric health issues, learning about senior health assessment tools, and understanding legal and ethical issues related to the profession are some of the things you will learn during this course.
Educational Requirements for Home Health Aides
DegreeFormal education is not always needed to become a home health aide. However, most professionals do have a high school diploma or a similar degree. The primary educational requirement depends on the state you live in because they tend to vary. Some states ask aspiring home health aides to complete 75 hours of training or pass specific exams, for example. Some companies provide on-the-job training to understand the duties and responsibilities of your job position by senior home health aides or the nursing staff.
LicensingHome health aides usually do not need any specific license in most states, except in Vermont. There, only Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNA) are hired as home health aides. The LNA training program by Central Vermont Medical Center can provide you with nursing assistant knowledge and some practical skills that you would need to know to work as a home health aide in this state.
CertificationsAlthough not mandatory, having a certification will add significant value to your resume as a home health aide. These certifications will also help you fulfill the training and certification requirements necessary to practice as a home health aide in some states.
The Private Duty Home Care Certification by NAHC (National Association for Home Care & Hospice) is one of the reputable certification courses for home health aides. You can also enroll in online home health aide programs at community colleges and vocational schools like the ones offered by Blackstone Career Institute. These courses help students learn about special procedures like oxygen use, medicine administration, infection control, specimen collection, intravenous infusions, and cold/hot applications.
Some health care organizations may require their health care aides to have a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA certification. This certificate course provides the necessary skills and a valid license to assist nurses and doctors in caring for patients. If you are interested in furthering your career, enrolling in NAHC’s Certified Home Care & Hospice Executive Program would also be a great move.
Home Health Aide Resume-Writing Tips
Drafting an effective resume is the first step toward looking for a job as a home health aide. You may be an entry-level professional or an experienced one. Still, there are certain things that you have to keep in mind while writing your resume. Here are some tips that will help you create a solid resume:
- Highlight your achievements: Don’t just limit your resume to a list of duties in each job position. Add quantifiable metrics and include results from your work. When doing so, give a short description of how you accomplished said result. Employers are interested in seeing how you used your skills in previous jobs to determine your reliability as a home health aide.
- Include details: Apart from your significant experiences and essential skills, there are some minor details that you should include. Specify the diverse patient population you have assisted, certifications, medical volunteering work, hours you have worked, and the type of patients under your care. Mentioning this on your resume will give employers a better understanding of the scope of your work.
- Write an effective career summary: Your career summary is the first thing the recruiter sees, so use it to your advantage. It should summarize your critical skills, a remarkable achievement you had on the job, and your work style. Quantify the summary by mentioning the number of years you have been in the profession. Also, highlight any specialized knowledge and the type of patients you have worked with. The professional summary should reflect who you are. For instance, if you describe yourself as a compassionate home health aide, write it in your professional summary to give employers an idea of your personality.
What is the job outlook of home health aides?
As per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health aide jobs will increase 34% from 2019 to 2029. The rate is much faster than the average found in other occupations.
What is the work environment of home health aides?
Home health aides work in patient’s homes, hospice settings, assisted living facilities for the elderly, and residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities. You may work full-time or part-time. Some home health aides may have to work during the weekends, evenings and night shifts.
Is it mandatory to be certified to work as a home health aide?
While you can work as a home health aide without a certification, you need to have the relevant certificate if you want to work for an agency or organization funded by Medicaid or Medicare.
Are certified nursing assistants and home health aides the same?
While health care aides and certified nursing assistants may have similar jobs, it is crucial to understand that they are not the same. Home health aides provide personal care to the patients, while certified nursing assistants have additional medical training.