Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Health Care and Home Health Aides

Families searching for home health aides, companions, eldercare givers, personal care attendents and housekeeping staff know how important it is to select the right support staff for their loved ones, according to 4HomeHealth.com. When you have elderly relatives that require care, and nursing homes are not an option, home health aides can be a real help to offset the lack of available time you have to monitor the health and safety of those individuals. If you work for a living out of the home, and your time is extremely limited during the day, care giving for those who need supervision during your absence. American families today are challenged to find balance between their professional lives and their personal lives. Parents working outside the home need childcare.
American families need help in the home, whether a full time housekeeper, household manager, personal assistant, or a regular cleaning service. Care for elderly family members needs to be located. Can you trust your nanny applicant, the person applying to help your mother at home, your housekeeper? Children and the elderly are our most vunerable family members. Families that employ staff in their homes become employers in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service and their state's Department of Labor. All these issues, and more, are worth investigation and require due diligence by a reputable company who can assist you in making these types of decisions.
A Home Health Aide (HHA) may also be known as a Home Caregiver, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Patient Care Technician or Residential Assistant (RA), according to CityTownInfo.com. An HHA provides basic, personal care and health-related services to a variety of individuals (patients) who require more assistance than family and/or friends are able to provide. HHAs are part of a category of occupations that is commonly referred to as "direct care workers." The services/care that a Home Health Aide provides depends upon their specialty area. A registered nurse (RN), physical therapist (PT), other health professional, social worker, or home health agency generally gives assignments and duties to a home health aide. For each patient, an HHA is responsible for recording services performed, as well as the patient's condition and progress. They also record and report any changes in a patient's condition to the case manager or supervisor and also discuss observations with them.
The types of patients with whom a home health aide may work include:
•The elderly.
•Physically disabled.
•Terminally ill.
•Convalescent persons.
•Hospice patients.
•Individuals with long-term illness.
•Adults with mental disabilities (e.g., Alzheimer's disease).
•Children with mental illness.

Home health aides generally work in a patient's private home or residential care facility by assisting with, and performing, a variety of duties that include:
•Checking temperature, pulse, and respiration rates.
•Changing (surgical) dressings.
•Assisting with prescribed exercises.
•Helping to move patients in and out of bed, chairs, baths, wheelchairs, and autos.
•Administering prescribed medications.
•Providing psychological and emotional support.
•Reading aloud to, or conversing with, patients (for mental health maintenance).
•Purchasing and preparing meals (at times following a prescribed diet).
•Dressing the patient.
•Grooming the patient.
•Personal hygiene (e.g., bathing the patient).
•Changing bed linens.

Home health aides also perform a variety of housekeeping chores such as cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. Also, depending on their assignment, an HHA may be responsible for picking up prescriptions and/or transporting a patient to scheduled doctors' appointments, or any other venue the patient wishes to go. While some HHAs work part-time, the majority work a full-time, 40-hour work week. Many may also work nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays for patients who require round-the-clock care. If not self-employed, Home Health Aides are typically employed by state or county welfare agencies, or private home health agencies. More often than not, home health aides have heavy workloads that include physical demands such as walking and standing for long periods of time. Also, because an HHA may be required to move clients from one spot to another and assist in standing and walking, it is very important that they learn and practice correct procedures for lifting and moving patients. Other hazards that an HHA may encounter in this occupation include minor infections and major diseases (e.g., hepatitis). It is important to note, however, that infections can be avoided by adhering to proper procedures. There are also duties performed by an HHA that most individuals would consider unpleasant, such as changing soiled bed linens and emptying bedpans.

Most home health aides simultaneously work with a variety of patients where the duration of each assignment may last anywhere from a few hours, days, or weeks. During a given day, many will drive from one patient to another. There are also HHAs who work with the same patient at their residence for many months or years.
While physical and emotional demands are part of this occupation, most HHAs find it gratifying to enhance the lives and help those in need. Individuals in this profession must possess and exude the following characteristics, attributes, and abilities:
•Precision and accuracy.
•Emotional stability.
•Strong communications abilities.
•Good physical health (including strength to lift, carry, push, pull).
•Service oriented.
•Socially perceptive.
•Problem recognition/sensitivity/solving.
•Ability to work as part of a team.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS) projects that overall employment for home health aides is expected "to grow 50 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations." Growth will vary between these individual occupations. Furthermore, according to the USDL BLS, for Home Health Aides specifically, the following factors will contribute to the "much faster than average employment growth:"
•Increasing demand from the aging population for in-home services.
•Cost containment efforts focused on moving patients (as quickly as possible) out of nursing care facilities and hospitals that have higher inpatient costs.
•Preference by consumers for in-home care services.
•Medical technology advancements for in-home treatment.

While neither a high school diploma nor formal education is a requirement in this profession, it is advantageous for an individual to have at least achieved a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers provide classroom training for new hires, but most individuals receive on-the-job training under the tutelage of RNs, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), or other seasoned/experienced HHAs. The latter form of home health aide training may take anywhere from several days to a few months to complete. Other training available to home health aides includes workshops, lectures, and in-service training. Once an HHA completes training, it is not uncommon that they be required to go through a competency evaluation to ensure that they can properly perform required tasks, according to CityTownInfo.com.

It is important to note that HHAs, who work for employers who receive Medicare reimbursement, must adhere to specific Federal Government guidelines. As such, HHAs are required by Federal law to pass a competency test that covers a wide range of disciplines; training may be obtained beforehand. Furthermore, a Home Health Aide may seek voluntary certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Licensing as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) may be required by some states. When it comes to advancement, opportunities are limited. Moving on to health occupations generally requires formal education or training. Most HHAs move on to become RNs, Medical Assistants, or LPNs. If not self-employed, HHAs will find employment with state or county welfare agencies, private home health agencies, social assistance agencies, health care services, and nursing and residential care facilities. Typical Home Health Aide Programs May Include Courses in:
•Geriatric Skills
•HIV/AIDS Awareness Training
•Introduction to Body Systems
•Introduction to Nutrition
•Introduction to Physical Therapy
•Occupational Therapy Aide Training
•Patient Communication
•Patient Mobility
•Patient Personal Care
•Recording Vital Signs
•Respiratory Equipment Training
•Respiratory Therapy Aide
•Understanding Vital Signs
•Uses of Basic Laboratory Equipment

Finding and hiring a HHA company or individuals is a task that can take time. Working with reputable sources helps to define who will take care of your loved ones. Make sure you do your homework, or work with someone who is knowledgeable in this field and can advise you about this decision. Although relatives, volunteers from your church or other organizations are helpful, in most cases you will need professional assistance--personnel trained in home health care. Your family deserves the best attention available within your resources to provide care if you need help or are unable to perform the responsibilities required to be a care giver.
Until next time.


hangrt said...

Flexible work hours and possibility of part time employment - Another attractive feature to phlebotomy jobs is having flexible work hours dependent on the institution that you work for. phlebotomy training

hangrt said...

A number of phlebotomy traning courses offered online have regular exams to ensure you have a better idea of your progress. Even if your curriculum doesn’t eventually evaluate your performance through a letter grade, do take such exams seriously.

hangrt said...

If you decide to take on this career then you need to have a high school diploma. Classes in science and math would be an added advantage. phlebotomy technician career usually takes up to one year to complete.

Rambo Fernandis said...
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Rambo Fernandis said...

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