What Are Home Health Aide Services?
Home health aides offer assistance with many personal care activities, such as helping clients with daily living tasks like running errands, shopping for groceries, or transportation to doctor appointments. Many personal care aides also offer companionship for clients who are homebound. Some of the main services offered by an HHA include:
Home Management Tasks
Light housekeeping, laundry services, and organizing the home are common tasks for home health aides. These home management tasks are essential for maintaining the environmental health of the client, which can reduce infection and disease and eliminate issues such as mold and infestations. Providing housekeeping and other home management tasks can also reduce the risk of falls.
Home health aides may also need to help with meal preparation. Serving meals that are nutritionally balanced and easy for the client to consume is particularly important for clients who have issues related to eating. A personal care aide may also provide warm or cold beverages to ensure the client is drinking enough water to avoid dehydration, particularly during the winter and summer.
Personal Care Services
Job tasks related to personal care include bathing, showering, grooming, dressing, toileting assistance, and more. Personal hygiene is essential, as this will ensure the patient can maintain a level of dignity, particularly for tasks such as toileting assistance.
Some clients may also need medication reminders or assistance with medication management. For example, an HHA may open and sort medications or set alarms to remind a client to take medications on time. Sometimes, a personal care aide will also need to prepare snacks if the client needs to take the medication with food.
Sometimes, it may also be necessary to provide medical care in a home care setting. For example, clients with a compromised immune system or a chronic condition may require ongoing care. Home health aides are trained to assist with medical monitoring, particularly HHAs who are registered nurses.
Provide Personal Transportation
Aides will often provide transportation for tasks such as errands, doctor appointments, and more. Depending on the role of the aide, it may be necessary to take clients to do outdoor activities, such as walking in a park. Transportation for clients who have assistive devices such as wheelchairs and walkers is essential, particularly in areas such as Long Island or Brooklyn, NY.
Escort to Medical Appointments
Clients may need an escort to medical appointments. As a health aid, escorting a client to a doctor’s appointment may be necessary to supervise the patient, ensure the patient arrives on time, and more. For example, if a client has a chest x-ray and will need assistance changing into a gown for the imaging appointment, an aide will help with this task.
What Other Responsibilities Does a Home Health Aide Have?
In addition to providing home health services, a caregiver will have other responsibilities related to the care of the client. For example, the caregiver is obligated to report any major health changes to the client’s family and the client’s case manager.
If the client has a fall, contracts a serious infection, or needs to be hospitalized, the HHA must report these changes immediately. Not only does this ensure the family and case manager are up-to-date on the status of the client, but this also ensures the client receives optimal care.
A home health aide is considered a mandatory reporter. This means that an HHA must report any suspicion or evidence of abuse to the family, case manager, and legal authorities, such as the police. Abuse can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. For elderly and disabled clients, financial abuse is a serious concern that can affect the client’s ability to pay for health services and other healthcare costs.
How Are Services Determined for Each Client?
Whether clients live in Manhattan or Staten Island, the way services are determined for each client is the same. First, a client will have to undergo an assessment with a case manager, who will identify the daily living tasks the client needs assistance with. Factors that help build the care plan will include whether the client lives alone, has mobility restrictions, or needs medical monitoring. The care plan is then followed by health care aides. A home health aide may tailor the care plan to the particular daily needs or requests of the client as long as the HHA is approved to provide those services.
What Does Private Pay Client Mean?
A private pay client in New York is a client who pays out of pocket for personal care services. An HHA needed for a private pay client will offer the same services as an HHA needed for a client who pays through insurance. Regardless of how the client pays for home health services, all services will be determined by the client’s care plan and monitored by the client’s case manager.
What Is the Care Plan and How Is It Made?
The care plan is an approved list of tasks the client needs help with, along with protocols for emergencies. The care plan is created after an assessment of the client’s needs and is overseen by the client’s case manager. Part of the job description for a home health aide is following tasks on the care plan. As a rule, an HHA is not allowed to provide services that are not approved by the care plan.
Additional HHA Responsibilities
Observing physical or mental changes in the client is important since the home health aide will typically have the best understanding of the client’s day-to-day changes. Reporting changes to the family and case manager will ensure clients are receiving optimal care and support.