What Does a Home Health Aide Do? 

Katie Wilkinson
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
,
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Learn about home health aide duties and skills for providing care in the home in this article.
Published
January 23, 2023
Last updated
4
min read
Relationships

What Does a Home Health Aide Do? 

Katie Wilkinson
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
,
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Learn about home health aide duties and skills for providing care in the home in this article.
Published
January 23, 2023
Last updated
4
min read
Relationships
What Does a Home Health Aide Do? 

Seniors today want greater autonomy and independence. Home health aides provide essential services to seniors, allowing them to remain in their homes while receiving the necessary medical care. These caregivers monitor vital signs, administer medication and treatments, and help with everyday tasks. Many home health aides also provide companionship and socialization. Home health aide is one of the fastest-growing in-home healthcare jobs. 

Home Health Aide duties

If a senior has some mobility, they may need additional assistance to remain in their home. Home health aides provide a crucial range of services dedicated to the care and comfort of elderly or disabled individuals. What does a home health aide do? They have several essential responsibilities: 

  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Administer prescriptions
  • Help with medical treatment
  • Give preventive care
  • Supervise nutrition and diet
  • Provide conversation and companionship
  • Run errands
  • Prepare food
  • Help with light housekeeping

For seniors who cherish independence and have some mobility, a home health aide provides the needed help to stay healthy and in a familiar setting. In most cases, older adults prefer staying in their homes and being engaged with their community than being transferred to a skilled nursing care or assisted living facility.

Personal care assistance

Home health aides may provide personal care like bathing, dressing, and toilet use. For clients who are unable to get out of bed, home health aides may give sponge baths or provide hair care in a bed. Home health aides may also help with shaving, styling hair or applying makeup, cleaning and cutting nails, and mouth and denture care.

Recreational activities for seniors

It can be lonely for seniors living at home on their own. A home health aide can provide the emotional support many seniors need to remain independent and safe. Home health aides help seniors participate in recreational outings, physical exercise programs, and community service opportunities. 

Through healthy conversation and companionship, home health aides encourage mental engagement and socialization of seniors who may otherwise become isolated. This enhances physical well-being and improves overall happiness and quality of life.

Family caregivers and home health aides

Many family caregivers employ the help of a home health aide to assist them in caring for their loved ones. Medicare and Medicaid may cover some costs. Even with the help of a home health aide, family caregivers often help with various activities. A family caregiver may fill in with tasks that need to be done, like grocery shopping or medical transportation. The home health aide works with the care recipient and family to provide for their needs.

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How to become a Home Health Aide

In-home healthcare jobs continue to grow as the American population ages. Many individuals find caring for seniors and other people with disabilities to be a rewarding career. Becoming a home health aide involves several requirements. You'll need to obtain specific certifications and qualifications through a home health aide training program. Skills include CPR certification, a tuberculosis test, and primary health care skills tests. 

Home health aides need to pass state-approved health training programs. Each state has different requirements. Additionally, most states require that home health aides complete formal job training and a thorough background check. Once certified, home health aides can apply for positions at skilled nursing care facilities, assisted living homes, hospitals, and other health care settings. They may choose to start self-employed or begin a small business. Because the need for home health aides is so great, finding a position takes little time. However, the field still struggles to maintain a living wage, and pay is often low compared to other professions. 

Specialization 

A home health aide can improve their salary and job prospects by specializing. For example, they might obtain extra wound care or senior care certifications. Additional licenses and training will make them more marketable and help them find a better-paying positions. Most certificates will include some classes and a practical and written exam. 

What is the pay for a Home Health Aide?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health aides in the United States make a median annual wage of $29,430. Salaries vary based on region and experience. The average hourly rate of a home health aide in the United States is approximately $15.00 per hour, with an annual salary of up to $31,200 per year. A home health aide with significant experience, qualifications, and certifications can ask for better pay and benefits. In-home healthcare jobs continue to be underpaid professions. 

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In-home health care jobs

Family caregivers cannot always provide all the medical and practical help their loved one needs. When a family member wants to remain in their home, a home health aide gives the necessary assistance so the care recipient can have a healthy and wholesome life. Home health aides help seniors remain at home safely and comfortably. They are trained to help with daily living activities and medication management and offer companionship. Home health aides also inform family members about their loved one's physical and emotional well-being, allowing seniors to enjoy the comfort and safety of their own homes.

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Katie Wilkinson

Katie Wilkinson

Katie Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at Givers. Watching her dad take care of her mom when she was sick gave her a front-row seat to witness the weight of being an unpaid caregiver. Katie is passionate about the intersection of healthcare and technology, and making sure that unpaid family caregivers get the care and compensation they deserve.

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