A certified home health aide cares for elderly, disabled, ill, or injured patients in their home. When family and friends are unable to care for their loved one, they may enlist the help of a certified home health aide. These medical professionals support patients who would like to remain in their own home rather than move into a residential care facility like a nursing home.
What Does a Certified Home Health Aide Do?
Home health aides assist individuals with:
- Daily tasks such as meal preparation, dressing, bathing, and grooming
- Medication management
- Exercise regimens
- Basic medical assistance such as vital signs monitoring
- Assistance with prosthetics, ventilators, and other medical devices
Conditions That May Require Home Care Services
Patients suffering from the following conditions or symptoms may need home care services:
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Mental illness, such as depression and anxiety
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- Respiratory diseases, such as COPD, emphysema, and asthma
- Parkinson’s disease
Questions to Ask When Considering Home Care Services
Before hiring a certified home health aide, patients and their loved ones should ask the following questions about qualifications:
- Does the agency have a state license?
- Does the agency have Medicare certification for health and safety?
- How are candidates screened before being hired?
- Can the agency provide a list of references?
Questions to ask about the quality of care:
- What kind of training do health aides receive?
- Do health aides undergo continuing education?
- How is their work monitored?
- Are the agency’s caregivers licensed, insured, and accredited?
- Do the employees seem friendly and supportive?
- Do you feel comfortable with the agency and the people on their team?
Questions to ask about services:
- Does the agency offer a written care plan before providing service?
- What details are included in the care plan?
- What are the rights and responsibilities of each party?
- Does the agency require a primary family caregiver to be named?
- What is required of the primary family caregiver?
- When will services be provided?
- Does the agency offer 24-hour service?
- What is the protocol for emergency care?
- How does the agency address problems with a home health aide?
- How soon can the patient begin receiving services?
Understand that home health aides aren’t supposed to replace doctors and nurses. These home medical professionals provide some health-related services on a regular basis, but these services are always provided in accordance with a doctor’s or nurse’s instructions.
Home health agencies employ a team of registered nurses, physical therapists, and social workers to supervise the work of the home health aides. If a patient’s condition changes, the agency’s staff will be notified and the patient’s doctor will be asked to reevaluate the patient’s needs.