Homecare Assistants and Aides

Home health aides assist disabled, elderly, cognitively impaired, and disabled individuals unable to live independently. They assist patients in their homes, hospice clinics, day programs, assisted living facilities, and other medical facilities. Likewise, they arrange transportation for disabled people who need rides to work and community events. Aides typically assist mentally and physically disabled individuals who require services family members or friends are unable to provide. Some aides work with patients being discharged from hospitals who only require short-term assistance.

Aides perform simple housekeeping tasks such as grocery shopping, preparing meals, changing bed sheets, and laundry. Additionally, home health aides help people bathe, dress, use the restroom, and get out of bed. Some aides attend doctors’ appointments with their clients.

Home health aides teach clients how to live independently and provide emotional support. They may counsel clients and their families about proper nutrition, sanitation, and exercise.

Home health aides are usually employed at hospice clinics and home healthcare companies that receive government subsidies. As a result, these companies must adhere to government regulations to obtain funding, and aides are required to perform their tasks under the direction of licensed medical specialists, typically nurses.

Personal and home care aides, also known as personal attendants, caregivers, and homemakers, work for private and public organizations that offer home care assistance. At these organizations, caregivers are usually supervised by social workers, licensed nurses, or managers without healthcare training. Aides are provided with detailed instructions about the types of services to provide and when to visit patients. Most home care and personal aides perform their duties unsupervised, with occasional visits from superiors. These care providers can work with a single client every day or 5-6 clients a week.

Some aides work directly for clients. When this is the case, tasks are assigned by clients or their family members, and client’s families supervise home care aides.

Education and Training

Home health aides and other care providers are usually not required to be high school graduates. They typically complete on-the-job training administered by experienced aides or licensed practical or registered nurses. Aides are taught how to prepare meals, including for clients requiring special diets. Home health aides with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in healthcare related fields position themselves for various career growth opportunities in the medical industry.

Job Outlook

Excellent job growth has been projected in this field because of increased demand for home-based care services and high turnover. Home health aide jobs are estimated to increase by 50 percent through 2018, which is a higher rate than estimated average growth in other industries. Job growth for personal and home care aides is estimated to increase by 46 percent through 2018, which is higher than average projected growth in other industries. In both fields, the projected growth can be contributed to a rising elderly population, a group that heavily relies upon the services provided by these specialists to perform routine tasks. Likewise, mentally and physically disabled adults often require home care assistance.

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