Most home health care providers (also known as home care assistants) provide in-home care for older adults, people with disabilities, and people with serious illness. They are usually categorized as home aides or personal aides. Home aides may help the client with shopping duties (including grocery or personal shopping), recreational activities, transportation to appointments such as doctor or salon visits, housekeeping, and cooking. Personal aides tend to the same matters as the home aides, but they also help dress, bathe, and perform other personal hygiene duties for their client.
Depending on the employer, home health care providers may also need to be able to take care of other health needs such as giving the client medication, taking vitals, or changing dressings. Home health care providers typically work in the clients' homes, but they may also work in group homes, nursing homes, and retirement homes. Shifts vary depending on the needs of the employer, and they may include nights, weekends, and holidays.
To work as a home health care provider, most states require a high school diploma or equivalent; there is no specific license or certification required for this job. However, certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice may be beneficial. Further training for this type of work is usually done on-site, since employers' needs may vary.
Home Health Care Provider 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.