Learn About Being a Home Health Aide

What does a home health aide do?

Home health aides administer health care and support to the elderly, ill or people with disabilities, often in the patient’s home. They may work for an agency or a patient’s family. A home health aide may do a combination of the following tasks:

  • Monitors and records patient information
  • Does light housekeeping duties such as cooking, laundry and dishes
  • Assists with medical tasks such as administering medication and checking vital signs
  • Assists with personal care such as bathing, grooming and getting dressed
  • Accompanies patients to doctor’s visits and/or other errands
  • Provides emotional and social support to patients regularly

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Average salary

Some home health aides work full time, while others work part time. Some patient schedules require aides to work on weekends, evenings and holidays. Overnight shifts and live-in shifts are other possibilities. A home health aide’s salary will vary based on geographical location as well as experience and other factors.

  • Senior woman with her caregiver at home

Home health aide requirements

Home health aide jobs require specific skills and certifications:

Education

Home health aides are not usually required to obtain a high school diploma or GED. However, many job candidates have received one of these credentials. A college education is not required to be a home health aide.

Training

Training is an integral part of becoming a home health aide. Aides who work for organizations or companies that receive funds from Medicare or Medicaid must complete a state-approved training program and evaluation. These are usually provided through community colleges or vocational schools, and they vary from state to state. States require 75 hours of training, 16 hours of supervised practical work and a passed evaluation and/or state certification. Those who work for private companies are not bound by this law and are more likely to receive on-the-job or other training from experienced aides at their company.

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