What Is the Job Outlook for Home Health Aides?
Home health and personal care aides help elderly or disabled people perform important daily personal tasks such as bathing, dressing, and preparing nutritious meals. They are currently in high demand because an increasing number of people want to stay out of assisted living facilities and stay in their own homes. In New York, the proportion of elderly residents is growing, so now is a great time to get into home health care.
Future Need for Home Health and Personal Care Aides
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 3,600,000 home health aides in the United States in 2021. By 2031, this is projected to grow to 4,500,000. Personal care aides are in high demand because baby boomers are becoming older and starting to need care. This means that in most communities, home health aides can find a job with ease, and they never run out of patients to care for.
A Desire for Comfortable and Personalized Care
One of the reasons why the demand for home health and personal care is increasing so rapidly is that most people don’t want to go to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Instead, they want comfortable and personalized care in their own homes.
Staying at home is good for both physical and mental health. Elderly and disabled people who can stay in their familiar environments are less lonely and more engaged in their communities. This improves their quality of life and helps them to feel like a part of society, even though they are no longer able to complete many of the tasks they used to do on their own.
The Situation in New York
In Greater New York, there are currently more than 3 million people over the age of 65. Every year, the proportion of senior citizens is growing. For this reason, thousands of elder care programs are looking to support vulnerable patients living at home.
If you become a home health and personal care aide now, you’ll earn a good wage and continue to experience career growth. Over time, you can hone your skills and take additional examinations to become a fully qualified healthcare practitioner.
What Is the Median Wage of a Certified Home Health Aide?
Full-time personal care aides working with a reputable agency can expect median annual wages of $35,000 to $45,000 in New York. They are likely to earn $16-20 per hour. If they work 40 hours or more per week, they can make at least $3,000 per month. Depending on the agency they work with, they also get benefits, ongoing training opportunities, and additional support.
It’s important to remember that several factors affect the median annual wage. In the last few years, it has increased due to inflation and the demand for personal care aides. Experienced home health aides with good qualifications and formal training can progress within their agencies and earn up to $30 per hour.
Personal care aides typically take part in continued professional development several times a year. At Parent Care, we provide our home health aides with opportunities to improve their practical and theoretical skills. While some of our courses focus on the individual and family services offered, others address the emotional support many personal care aides provide. We help our workers tackle difficult situations, keep clients engaged, and recognize signs of poor mental health in patients.
After a few years of work, experienced home health aides can take on other healthcare practitioner roles. They might become nursing assistants, registered nurses, or therapists. Because these jobs require extensive training, many personal care aides continue to work part-time while they go to school.
Do Home Health Aides Need to Complete Formal Training?
Before home health and personal care aides can start working, they have to complete a formal training program. This is offered by the New York State Department of Health or the New York State Education Department. It is held at community colleges and vocational schools all over the city, so you can find a suitable training facility no matter where you live.
Most home health training sessions take between two and six weeks. There are full-time and part-time options available, so you can take part even if you’re currently working.
What Are the Necessary Skills?
Aspiring home health and personal care aides don’t have to have all the necessary skills because they are taught during the training program. However, there are certain prerequisites. Applicants have to be in good general health because home care requires physical tasks such as lifting patients and pushing wheelchairs. Many agencies ask candidates to complete a physical exam before they are hired.
You also need to have a high school diploma to work as a home health and personal care aide. This is because you have to follow proper procedures, take notes, and communicate effectively with other healthcare providers. Home health aides have a great deal of responsibility since they work with vulnerable patients who might suffer from chronic illness or mental health issues.
What Will You Learn During HHA Courses or Postsecondary Nondegree Award Programs?
Home health aide training typically includes learning about a wide range of aspects related to this job. Students find out about basic safety techniques, infection control, the principles of personal hygiene, and how to help take the client’s vital signs. They also learn how to handle medical equipment and teach self-care skills to their patients.
Because home health aides aren’t medical professionals like doctors or nurses, they mostly perform nonmedical services. That’s why they learn about how to plan appointments, arrange transportation, and prepare meals for their patients. They might also be taught about the most common physical therapy exercises, so they can help clients perform simple prescribed exercises.
Is There a Competency Exam?
You have to complete a competency exam to show that you have understood the course material. Most community colleges and vocational schools carry out the exam every few weeks, so you don’t have to wait long to complete it and become a certified home health aide.
Speak to your instructors if you’re worried about the exam or you’re a nervous test taker. They will provide you with tips about how to prepare. Sometimes they also offer additional materials and mock tests that allow you to better understand what to expect.
How Much Does the Training Program Cost?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to become a home health aide. The training is sometimes offered for free, so you only have to spend around $100 on books and materials. Courses that charge tuition often cost $300-600, so they are more affordable than many other vocational training programs.
Where Are Training Sessions Held?
Home health clinical services are taught in dozens of schools all over New York. No matter where you live, you can find a training program in your local area. If you’re not sure where to enroll, reach out to us at Parent Care. We can let you know which schools are reputable, so you have the best possible chances of finding a good job after you complete your competency exam.
What Are the Job Duties of Home Health Aides?
Home health aides complete a wide range of tasks, both health-related and non-medical. The exact nature of the work depends on the health and preferences of the patients.
Basic Health Related Services
Personal care aides typically perform basic health-related services such as administering the correct client medication, assisting in taking vital signs and sending them to doctors’ offices, and helping patients manage a chronic illness or mental health issue.
However, they aren’t considered medical professionals. Home health aides who would like to become nurses need to take the proper classes or extensive training courses.
Assist Clients with Daily Personal Tasks
As a home health aide, your main job duties will include helping clients with personal hygiene and housekeeping tasks. You will prepare meals for them, so you need to understand basic nutrition principles and each client’s dietary specifications. Additionally, you might assist clients while they move from one room to the next, take a bath, and use the restroom. Sometimes, you will plan appointments, arrange transportation, and take patients on outings.
Providing Non-medical Services and Companionship
Non-medical services are just as important because they help the patient to feel comfortable in their own homes and prevent them from becoming lonely. Aside from doing laundry or cooking meals, you might simply sit with the patient, read a book, or play a game with them.
This type of care is called companionship, and it is crucial because it keeps clients engaged and prevents serious mental health issues such as depression and loneliness. As a companion, you will visit the same patients once or twice a week and provide vital social interaction.
Who Are the Patients?
Direct support professionals work with a wide range of patients. While most people who require home care are elderly, home health aides might also visit people who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. These patients could be children, teenagers, or adults who are unable to perform their daily personal tasks independently due to their disabilities.
Home health aides have to learn basic safety techniques because some patients might exhibit difficult or violent behaviors. Aides frequently collaborate with doctors, social workers, and other medical staff to provide a high level of care and ensure everyone’s safety.
Do Most Home Health Aides Work with a Home Health Care Agency?
When they first start working, personal care aides typically work with an agency because they can find patients more easily that way, and they have the necessary support to learn on the job and enhance their skills.
At Parent Care, we provide our new home health aides with on-the-job training. They can learn about the communication systems we use, improve their organizational skills, and find out how to work with other healthcare practitioners.
Advantages of Collaborating with Hospice Agencies
When personal care aides work with home health and hospice agencies, they don’t have to spend time and money finding their own clients. Instead, they can start working the desired number of hours straight away. Most agencies offer full-time and part-time jobs, so home health aides can decide how many hours they would like to work per week.
Being part of a team is another major advantage of collaborating with agencies. If you have an issue with a patient, or you’re worried about someone’s health, you can simply reach out to your coordinator or supervisor. They will take care of the situation and contact the relevant healthcare practitioner. That way, you don’t have to worry about being put in uncomfortable situations.
How to Get Started As a Certified Home Health Aide
If you’re already a certified home health aide, and you’re ready to start working, reach out to a home health agency and begin compiling all the necessary documents. Although personal care aides are in high demand, you won’t get a good job unless you can prove that you have the relevant qualifications.
Include your high school diploma, home health aide certification, and the results from your physical in your application. You might also need a criminal background check, as you’ll be working with vulnerable people. To achieve the best possible salary, make sure to include your previous care experiences and any other relevant qualifications. If you speak several languages, have experience working with children, or have a driver’s license, you might be able to work with a wider range of patients.
Home health and personal care aides are in high demand at the moment, as elderly and disabled people increasingly want to stay in their own homes instead of going to a nursing facility. If you’re ready to start a new career in healthcare, send us a message at Parent Care or call us at 718-486-7100. We can help you find a good training school in your area. Once you’ve qualified, we look forward to receiving your job application.