A Quick Look At Common Home Health Aide Duties
Your home health aide duties will greatly depend on your patient and what type of home healthcare setting you are working in.
Working as a home health aide, you should know that there are many job duties other than providing your patient with just basic medical care.
Below we have listed typical duties of a home health aide to help you understand what they do on a daily basis.
- Bathing. This may include helping your patient in and out of the shower, washing, making sure they do not slip, and helping them dry off. Make sure to respect your patient’s privacy and keep them as comfortable as possible.
- Oral hygiene. Assisting your patient brush their teeth will prevent dental problems like infection and irritation. If they have dentures check them regularly and keep them clean. This will typically be done once or twice a day.
- Dressing. Some patients will have a hard time choosing and putting on their clothes. They may need instructions or assistance with undressing and dressing, organizing, simplifying outfits, and choosing comfortable clothing.
- Skincare. If your patient has the tendency to remain in one position for a long period of time, you will need to help them reposition themselves. This helps prevent bedsores and skin ulcers. Applying cream or lotion can also be used to help reduce friction on their skin.
- Grooming. This may include helping your patient to shampoo, dry, and comb their hair, along with shaving and cleaning their nails. Make sure your patient looks and feels good.
- Feeding. Another common duty that you will perform as a home health aide is feeding your patient. Many patients have become unable to feed themselves. Make sure you have patience with them as this might take some time and they might refuse to eat. This can be difficult task but remember that your patient needs to maintain a healthy diet.
- Toileting. You may need to assist your patient with going to the bathroom, including the use of a bedpan, commode, or toilet.
- Vital signs. Another typical duty as home health aide is monitoring the vital signs of your patient. These readings are very important for keeping health records and making sure your patient is in good health condition. This includes taking your patients pulse or heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and temperature. You may also need to record your patient’s weight and pain level.
- Changing bandages. Your patient may have an injury and you will need to assist them in changing their bandages, also known as a dressing change. This will help the injured area to heal and not become infected. Always make sure to wash your hands before and after, wear gloves, and dispose of the old dressing properly.
- Medication. You may be required to administer medication or prescription drugs to your patient under written instructions by their doctor. However, in some cases you will need your supervisor or a nurse to administer the medication.
- Exercise. Assisting your patient with a daily exercise routine is very common. Your patient may have had an injury or have limited mobility and their doctor will prescribe them certain physical therapy exercises.
- Cooking. As a HHA, one of your duties may be assisting a patient that cannot cook for himself or herself. Their doctor or dietician will let you know what foods should be avoided or offered. You will also have the responsibility to check foods in the pantry and refrigerator for dates and safe storage.
- Shopping. HHAs may need to run errands such as grocery shopping, obtaining household supplies, medical supplies, and picking up medications for their patient.
- Laundry. You may need to wash and dry your patient’s clothes. Your patient may be picky about how they want their clothes washed, dried, folded, ironed, and organized so make sure to pay close attention to their instructions.
- Bedding. You will need to change your patient’s bed linens on a daily basis. This can be a challenging task if your patient is unable to get out of bed. Don’t worry though, your HHA training and HHA classes you will prepare you for this.
- Cleaning. Light cleaning will be required of you at most jobs because your patient may be unable to do these basic household tasks. This may include dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, dishwashing, and taking out the trash.
Other Common Home Health Aide Duties
Maybe the most important job duty of all, as a home health aide, is to provide your patient with companionship and emotional support. They may not see friends or family very often, which can be hard, and your friendship can mean the world to them. Make sure to always listen, respect, and help make your patients life better.
Some fun activities with your patient can include playing cards, board games, watching tv, and reading to them.
Teaching and educating your patient and their family about an illness or disability will be a big part of your job, and it will help improve the quality of life for both of them.
Families can be educated how to properly lift and move a patient, how to administer medications, and how to maintain a safe home environment for the patient. You will also want to let the family know about any nutritional requirements the patient may have.
You will need to communicate and record all of your patient’s health changes and information to your employer or to your supervisor.
This may include your patient’s vital signs, food intake, medications, waste measurements, and any notice of change in health or illness.
Another one of your duties as a home health aide may be to drive and assist your patient to and from doctor offices if he or she has an appointment, or if your patient needs to run an errand. Having a valid drivers license and a clean driving record will be important to obtain certain HHA jobs.
We know this list of HHA duties can be a little overwhelming, but not to worry, you will learn all of this in your training before you start your new job.
Hopefully our list home health aide duties has given you a better understanding about what a HHA does on a daily basis.