Home care assistants offer help and care for individuals who require assistance or supervision within their respective homes. This job is usually dedicated to elderly clients and those who have some physical or mental limitation which inhibits their ability to care for themselves. Home care assistants generally perform routine household care work and monitor the health of patients, and may also prepare meals, ensure that medication is taken, and assist with bathroom and personal hygiene matters.
The duties of those in this position may vary by employer, though many employers require applicants to be certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Home care assistants who hold this certification may be more hands-on in the job's health care aspect of the job and work with patients with relevant needs. In these cases, they may perform routine tests like blood pressure monitoring or blood sugar testing for diabetics, as well as other general health assessments.
In some situations, home care assistants may simply be called upon to provide look-in supervision, which can include preparing healthy meals, performing routine cleanup work around the house, and ensuring the client is taking prescribed medication according to the instructions of a primary care provider. They may also run small errands, such as re-filling prescriptions, and must always refer any concerning observations to other health care professionals if necessary.
Aspiring home care assistants should have a high school diploma, a clean criminal record, and prior experience in care, typically at a clinic or hospital in an entry-level patient assistance position. For employers who require CNAs for this position, applicants who have an associate's degree and certification as a nursing assistant may be preferred. Those in this position generally work during daytime hours, but shifts can vary.
Home Care Assistant Tasks
Check patients' pulse, temperature and respiration.
Provide patients with help moving in and out of beds, baths, wheelchairs or automobiles, and with dressing and grooming.
Maintain records of patient care, progress, or problems to report and discuss observations with supervisor or case manager.
Change bed linens, wash and iron patients' laundry, and clean patients' quarters.
Entertain, converse with, or read aloud to patients to keep them mentally healthy and alert.