How to Become a Home Health Aide

So you want to know how to become a home health aide. Good for you! A career in home health care allows you to truly make a difference in the lives of your clients and their families. Plus, the majority of nurses and aides working in home health care report a deep sense of fulfillment and job satisfaction. That’s because they enjoy the personal relationships they build and the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing they are enhancing an individual’s quality of life.

Home health aide helps elderly woman at breakfast.

What Home Health Aides Do

Home health aides help people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive impairment by assisting them in their daily living activities, like cooking, cleaning, and dressing. They also help older adults who need assistance in their home or permanent-living facility. Home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check the client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner. Occasionally, they change bandages or dressings, give massages, care for the skin, or help with braces and artificial limbs. With special training, experienced home health aides also may help with medical equipment, such as ventilators.

How to Become a Home Health Aide

Education

To start, home health aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent for the job. However, there are post-secondary non-degree award programs at community colleges and vocational schools too. Health aides working in certified home health or hospice agencies often complete formal training and pass a standardized test. The education requirements for how to become a home health aide differ from state to state.

Training

Each state has their own training requirements. Training may be done on the job or through specialized programs. Training programs typically include learning about personal hygiene, reading and recording vital signs, infection control, nutrition, and basic safety techniques. The amount of hours required for these programs varies from 75 hours to 180 hours.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Additional requirements for a home health care license or certification also vary by state. In some states, the only requirement for employment is on-the-job training, which employers generally provide. Other states require formal training, and still others conduct background checks on prospective aides. For specific requirements in your state, contact your state’s health board.

Aides also may be required to obtain CPR certification.

Important Qualities in an Aide

Do you have what it takes to be a home health aide? The most successful aides have (or develop) the following qualities:

Attention to Detail: Home health aides must adhere to specific rules and protocols that require attention to detail. Aides must also carefully follow instructions from healthcare professionals to help take care of clients, such as how to care for wounds and how to identify changes in a client’s condition.

Comfort & Support: Home health aides should make clients feel comfortable when they tend to personal activities, especially sensitive activities like bathing and dressing.

Reliability: Aides must be dependable and trustworthy so that clients and their families can rely on them.

Physical Stamina: Home health aides should be comfortable performing physical tasks. They might need to lift or turn clients.

Compassion: Sometimes clients are in extreme pain or distress, and aides must be sensitive to their emotions. Above all, they must be compassionate and enjoy helping people.

A Career with Phoenix Home Care

If you still have questions about how to become a home health aide, call Phoenix Home Care at 855-881-7442 or contact us online. If you are looking to start or grow your career with a company that cares about you, visit our career center. We have locations in four states and provide our employees with opportunity for growth and movement within the company.

Since our beginning, we have been able to attract and retain a high-quality workforce, a statement few in our industry can boast about. We have set out to distinguish ourselves through the selection of our employees, the client-focused training of our highly skilled caregivers, and the value-based leadership practices of our management. Join us and our cause today!

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