Career Guide  
Home Health Aide
 
I. Job Outlook:

II. Job Requirements/Prerequisites:

III. Education/Training Resources:

IV. Getting A Job:

V. Back To Career Guide Home Page

      

Occupation Overview

This occupation is the result of healthcare delivery and responsibility being shifted away from hospitals and toward patients in their homes. As healthcare costs continue to rise, baby boomers mature, and the average life span increases, the need for Home Health Aides will grow considerably over the next ten years. This is due to the choice many people are making to be cared for in the comfort of their home, rather than paying sky rocketing costs for hospital or nursing home care. In-home care is also becoming more prevalent for people with disabilities and those recovering from surgery.

As the name suggests, the care is provided in the home. Some workers will spend an entire day with a single patient, while others will visit 5 or more patients in a given day.

Home Health Aides typically work for private healthcare or nonprofit community health agencies. They can also work through the home health offices that some hospitals now provide. This occupation is a good choice for those wishing to be self-employed, and those wishing to work less than full-time or in temporary assignments.

This occupation also goes by the following titles: Personal Care Aide, Home Care Aide, and Home Attendant.

Notes:

  • Even though the current definition of Home Health Aides requires minimal training and wages, it is a good entry point for those willing to grow with an industry. Job responsibilities and wages are likely to increase in the future.
  • During the last year Medicare has reduced the number of pre-approved Home Health Aide visits, which has resulted in a decrease in the current demand for Home Health Aides. In time, the greater number of patients requiring home health care will make up for this reduction in the number of visits per patient. However, at the present time finding a job as a Home Health Aide can be challenging, and some people interested in this occupation are obtaining additional training to become employable now as, for example, a psychiatric technician.
    
 

Future Growth Opportunities

Opportunities for Advancement:

There really aren't any opportunities for advancement without further education. But with additional education positions such as medical assistant, licensed vocational nurse, and registered nurse become attainable.

Skills Transferable to:

Nurses Aides, Live-in Attendant.

    
 

Job Descriptions

No Experience ($5-12/hour)

The Home Health Aide is responsible for caring for the patient. This involves following the orders of the patient's physician/nurse, such as making sure that medication is taken on-time and in the right dosage, changing surgical dressings, and monitoring vital statistics such as temperature and blood pressure. It also requires helping the patient with normal living activities, such as getting in and out of bed, using a bedpan or toilet, planning and cooking meals, assisting with bathing and dressing, changing linen, and cleaning. It is also critical to know when additional or more specialized help is required to properly care for the patient.

Experienced ($7-20/hour)

Same work as described above.

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