Home Health Aide Qualifications and Job Requirements

Home Health Aide Job Responsibilities:

  • Enables patients to stay in their homes by monitoring and recording patient condition, providing support and personal services, and teaching families.
  • Monitors patient condition by observing physical and mental condition, intake and output, and exercise.
  • Supports patients by providing housekeeping and laundry services, shopping for food and other household requirements, preparing and serving meals and snacks, and running errands.
  • Assists patients by providing personal services, such as, bathing, dressing, and grooming.
  • Helps patients care for themselves by teaching use of cane or walker, special utensils to eat, special techniques and equipment for personal hygiene.
  • Helps family members care for the patient by teaching appropriate ways to lift, turn, and re-position the patient.
  • Advises on nutrition, cleanliness, and housekeeping.
  • Records patient information by making entries in the patient journal and notifying nursing supervisor of changing or unusual conditions.
  • Maintains a safe, secure, and healthy patient environment by following asepsis standards and procedures, maintaining security precautions, and following prescribed dietary requirements and nutrition standards.
  • Protects the home care agency by adhering to professional standards, home care policies and procedures, federal, state, and local requirements.
  • Enhances service reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests, and exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments.

What Are the Qualifications for Home Health Aides?

While the local requirements to become a home health aide (HHA) will vary from county to county, most personal care assistants will need to meet the same basic requirements. This includes passing a competency test or equivalent exam, completing a basic training program, and meeting other professional standards. For example, people who want to work in a home care setting will need to pass a drug screen and a background check to obtain identity and employment authorization. Along with a background check, HHAs must have a valid driver’s licenses. An individual worker may have a qualification as a licensed practical nurse, particularly if care will be provided to clients who need medical monitoring.

Home health aides must be willing to comply with local requirements for home care, state regulations, home care policies, and many other professional standards. It’s essential for clients receiving at-home care to receive the same standard of care they would receive at a live-in facility.

What About Continued Education?

It’s necessary for HHAs to keep up with state regulations, particularly rules about how to maintain an active HHA employment authorization. For many, this means following continued education requirements. Continued education can include seminars that train caregivers in client-specific skills, cultural sensitivity, and much more. HHAs may need to complete a certification or equivalent exam approved by the state annually to maintain employment.

How to Become a Certified Home Health Aide

To become a certified home health aide, individuals will need to pass a competency test and comply with other state regulations. The hiring practices for home health aides are strict to ensure long-term care patients are receiving quality care. Some steps will involve:

Drug Screen

An HHA must pass an initial drug screening and regular drug screenings to maintain certification. Failure to pass a drug test will disqualify an applicant.

Background Check

A licensed home care agency will also mandate all applicants pass a background check. Individuals who have a criminal background are usually not qualified to provide services.

State Training and Certification

An HHA will also need to complete state training courses and other education to receive a certification as a home health aide. Certifications may need to be regularly renewed.

Apply to a Licensed Agency

The final step to becoming a certified home health aide is providing an employer with bank account information to set up payroll. Working with a licensed agency will simplify the payment process for any personal care services that are provided to clients.

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