How to Become a Home Health Aide
Work and Rewards
The work of a home health aide requires physical labor and the ability to interact well with clients that are elderly, physically, and/or mentally challenged, or ill with chronic conditions.
HHAs and home companions also help care for individuals that are at home recovering from surgery and do not require the more intensive services of a nursing home or rehabilitation center. Probably the most important role of the HHA is to help an elderly person stay in their own home rather than to enter an assisted living facility.
A friend of over 20 years became an HHA after a few years in other careers. She worked for a home health services agencies, gathering skills and experience. She found the work time consuming, physically tiring, but rewarding, One of her clients hired her full-time until his death. At that time, she inherited his condominium, new car, savings, and other items.
This is not the usual outcome of full-time positions as an HHA, home companion or Certified Nursing/Nurse's Aide, but is an occasional occurrence. Otherwise, the starting pay is at the lower end of the Healthcare Industry pay scale, increasing over time. HHAs that go on to open their own home health businesses make larger salaries. One of my students began as the HHA and progressed to LPN after earning a GED, with plans to further her studies through tuition reimbursement offered on the job.
Sample Job Descriptions
Home health aides and personal care aides have similar duties and training. Home health aides work in clients' homes, hospitals, clinics, hospices, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, and adult day care centers.
These aides often have a high school diploma, but also a demonstrated 10th grade level of reading and writing, and mathematics knowledge of at least 9th-grade level, which includes pre-algebra. Some US States do not require the high school diploma for licensure.
Home Health Aide Certification is available through short training programs in high schools, vocational schools, and independently-owned schools. From time to time, county and city funds are available to furnish free HHA training through a list of approved training providers. Basic PC skills and good interpersonal relations are also required. The personal and home care aides do not require licensure but do similar work.
Some Tasks Are Less Glamorous Duties
Some job duties of the Home Health Aide can be very physically challenging and tiring, even boring at times. Others can be enjoyable. Any or all of these duties appear in job descriptions:
- doing laundry,
- changing bed linens,
- grocery shopping,
- planning menus and cooking,
- helping clients in and out of bed, and assisting with prosthetics, helping client walk,
- bathing, toileting, dressing, and grooming clients,
- taking vital signs,
- providing massage and skin care,
- providing range-of-motion and other exercises,
- providing transportation to doctors' appointments, physical therapy, etc.
- running errands,
- providing client education on nutrition, personal care, and household tasks,
- keeping accurate records of services performed and client progress,
- working as a member of a treatment or social services team,
- taking direction from a Registered Nurse (RN) or other licensed healthcare professional.
- Driver's License
- HHA Certificate
- CPR and Basic Life Saving Certification
- Pre-employment physician's Health Clearance: negative TB skin test and/or CXR and other state-mandated tests.
Some companies provide any or all of the following benefits for full-time HHA work:
- Employee and Family Health Coverage
- Employer-contributed Pension Plan
- Scheduled time off, Vacations and Sick Time
- Tuition Reimbursement
- 403(b) or other Retirement Plan
National Association for Home Care and Hospice
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice ::
Welcome to HomeCare Online the virtual headquarters of the National Association for Home Care (NAHC). Since its inception in 1982, NAHC has remained committed to serving the home care and hospice industry, which provides services to the sick, the dis
Courses Included in Many HHA Certificate Programs
- Introduction to Body Systems
- Introduction to Nutrition
- Introduction to Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy Aide Training
- Geriatric Clients
- HIV/AIDS Awareness Training
- Patient Communication
- Patient Mobility
- Patient Personal Care
- Respiratory Equipment Training
- Respiratory Therapy Aide
- Recording Vital Signs
- Understanding Vital Signs
- Basic Laboratory Equipment
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.