Home health care workers are specialized caregivers that are able to travel around and care for their patients in their own home. They offer those patients who have disabilities or problems traveling the convenience of having the health care they need without leaving home. They generally work in patients' homes or a nursing home, and they schedule their day according to their clientele’s needs.
Home health care workers can be classified into two different types: personal care aides and home health aides. Both offer different forms of care. Personal care aides usually perform routine care, such as bathing, cooking meals, and light cleaning. They may also just provide companionship and friendship to their patients. Home health aides are generally more health oriented, monitoring the patients’ vital statistics, giving medications at the appropriate times, performing any wound care that is needed, and keeping the doctors updated on the patients’ progress.
Both jobs require at least a high school diploma. Some states require formal studies, which can be attained at a college or technical school, but no formal license or certification is required in most states. Both types of workers do need to be physically able to meet the needs of their patients. Many duties require heavy lifting and extreme exertion, so a home health care worker must be physically fit. They also need to have good people skills and a friendly personality.
Home Health Care Worker 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.