Home health aides are invaluable additions to those needing assistance with daily activities. Still, it’s essential to clearly understand what exactly they can and cannot do for you. This blog post is designed to clarify what home health aides are not allowed to do so that those seeking home health care services can make an informed decision amid their various options.
Too often, individuals presume the aide can provide a more extensive range of services than they are allowed. An initial assessment of your needs and the capabilities of the home health aide you’re considering is essential to unearth any potential issues. Taking these steps now will ensure that you receive proper care from your home health aide in the future.
What are Home Health Aides?
A home health aide is a trained professional who provides non-medical services to people living in their homes, usually those recovering from or managing illness and disability. Their primary role is to provide companionship, assistance, and support and help clients take medications on schedule.
Home health aides differ from other types of in-home care services, like personal home care and hospice services, in that they work under the supervision of nurses or physicians to provide medical treatments and products. They are also trained to observe a patient’s physical condition, mental state, and emotional needs. They can report these observations, and any changes noted to the medical personnel caring for the patient.
Home health aides are trained to help with a variety of tasks, including:
- Helping with day-to-day activities such as getting dressed, eating, grooming, bathing, and using the bathroom.
- Carrying out light housekeeping duties like washing clothes, doing dishes, and changing bed sheets.
- Going shopping for groceries and personal hygiene items.
- Driving to and from doctor appointments.
- Checking blood pressure, respiration rate, and pulse.
- Monitoring physical and mental health by maintaining a healthy diet, providing exercise guidance, and helping with bathroom visits.
- Be prepared for accidents or medical emergencies like a heart attack or stroke.
Home health aides also provide emotional support to their clients by getting to know them personally and providing much-needed companionship during difficult times. In short, the role of a home health aide is to help patients continue living independently in their own homes for as long as possible by providing them with all these vital care services.
Responsibilities and Restrictions of Home Health Aides
Home health aides (HHA) are often a great help in caring for an elderly or disabled family member or friend in their own home. However, while HHAs can be counted on to provide various services, they need the authority to offer specific medical procedures. Therefore, unlicensed HHAs are not allowed to administer the following:
- Unlicensed HHAs cannot administer any medication, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs.
- Combining different medications to make a single dose is strictly prohibited.
- Filling up reminder boxes with the prescribed doses of medications is also something that unlicensed HHAs should not do.
- Giving medical advice or providing care based on such advice is not within their purview.
- Performing assessments to ascertain patients’ overall well-being and making changes in treatments as per the results of such evaluations are tasks that must be left only to licensed medical professionals.
- Providing medical care, ranging from simple first aid services to more complex operations and procedures, is something that an unlicensed HHA cannot perform due to the lack of authority and certification.
If you and your loved one feel that this type of assistance is needed, it’s important to enlist the services of someone who is licensed and qualified for those duties.
While HHAs can still provide valuable assistance with meals, shopping, housekeeping tasks, and companionship, HHAs must know their responsibilities and restrictions to provide the best possible care for their patients. By understanding what action is allowed within the scope of their practice and identifying situations requiring more specialized attention from a licensed professional, HHAs can help maintain a high level of care for their patients’ home health needs.
Training and Certification of Home Health Aides
Home health aides (HHAs) offer invaluable services to individuals who require assistance with daily living activities at home. However, they must complete the necessary training and receive proper certification to provide a quality standard of care. According to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, students must complete 75 hours of training and document 17 skills demonstrating competency before taking their written exam and receiving their certification.
Those who work at in-home care agencies must also pass a competency evaluation or receive state certification to ensure they have the qualifications necessary to provide this crucial assistance. Ensuring HHAs are up-to-date on their training and certified ensures clients who need in-home assistance can trust that their aides understand how best to help them live safely and independently.
Overall, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities and limitations of home health aides. While they are a helpful and valuable resource for providing round-the-clock care within the comfort and familiarity of home, it’s important to remember that they cannot replace the services of a nurse or doctor.
Familiarizing yourself with what they offer can help you make an informed decision when selecting a home healthcare provider. In addition, quality home health care can be vital to maintaining good physical, mental, and emotional health. As such, take your time to discover all the facts before committing to receiving care from a certified home health aide or agency provider like Care & Help Home Care.