Home health aides fill a specific and very important role in a home care plan. Certified home health aides receive training to assist with activities of daily living. They provide companionship and deliver personal care, such as help with bathing or dressing. They also can help with meal preparation and feeding, and assist you with errands, or getting safely to and from appointments. A home health aide can help keep track of your symptoms and will be alert to any changes that require medical attention.
However, home health aides cannot provide medical or skilled nursing care. For example, a home health aide can remind you to take your medications on schedule and record vital signs, but they cannot dispense medications or, except under specific circumstances, check vital signs.
Your aide’s primary responsibility is to see to your or your loved one’s well-being.
An aide may assist with light housekeeping that is related to care (such as cleaning up the kitchen after feeding your loved one or tidying the bathroom after bathing and dressing), but it’s important to remember that a home health aide is not a housekeeper. Your aide’s primary responsibility is to see to your or your loved one’s well-being.
When you hire a home health aide, you should expect a person who is compassionate, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. And for peace of mind, it’s important to hire an aide who is insured, certified, and properly trained. When you’re sick, the last thing you want to do is check references or verify insurance or training credentials. Hiring an aide from a certified, licensed home care agency relieves this burden. An agency should make sure that its aides are properly trained and credentialed, and that they have passed comprehensive background checks. It should also have the depth of staff to match you with an aide who meets your needs.
A properly trained home health aide is more likely to notice changes in behavior or symptoms and act immediately and appropriately. In New York State, home health aides are trained and certified by a program approved by the New York State Department of Health. This program requires 79 hours of instruction in assistance with activities of daily living.
An agency is able to assess each aide’s strengths, abilities, and interests. When you call an agency, a client services representative will ask you a series of questions to understand the physical, emotional, and mental needs of the person who needs care. This will help to match you with an aide who has the skills you need, shares your interests, and is familiar with your culture, background, and even the language you’re most comfortable speaking.