If you want to work in the medical field but don't want to undergo several years of school, you can get a very rewarding career as a home health aide. Home health care is increasingly popular since more and more aging individuals choose to stay in their own homes rather than enter into a nursing home or assisted living facility when they can no longer entirely care for themselves. Getting into home health care allows you to work with individuals every day and help keep them safe, independent, and healthy, but it's not a job for everyone. Use this guide to see if you have what it takes to be a home health aide.
Can your back handle it?
Part of the job of a home health aide is helping your patients out of bed and to and from the bathroom and other areas of the house. You will have tools to help you lift heavier patients, including a back brace and a sit-to-stand lift, but in general your back should be in good condition to avoid harming yourself and your patients. If you are unable to lift more than a few pounds at a time or your back is unable to rotate from side-to-side, then being a home health aide may not work well for you.
Do you work well under pressure?
Working in home health largely revolves around helping patients with their daily tasks. This means light housekeeping, cooking, walking pets, watering plants, and helping patients get dressed and perform normal hygiene. You don't expect an emergency to happen, but they do. Your elderly patients could fall and break a hip (250,000 elderly people a year are taken to the hospital for hip fractures), or they could have a reaction to medication. You need to remember your training and respond quickly so you can safely assist your patient until help arrives. An ideal home health aide can always respond well under pressure.
Are you willing to go to school?
While you won't be going to several years of college like a Registered Nurse or a doctor does, you will be required to undergo specific training to become a home health aide. You will be required to complete several hours of training, not including supervised work after training completion. Every state has different requirements for home health care training and certification in addition to national standards. If you have the time and commitment to the training that is required, then you should be ready to begin learning your new home health aide career.
As a home health aide, you will be able to help many elderly and ill patients live in their own homes comfortably and safely. This rewarding career can be perfect for you if you are physically able, work well in stressful situations, and are willing to take the time to get trained properly.