Household medical assistance in the form of home health aides (HHAs)
allows people to receive basic assistance at home at far less cost than if the
same patient was serviced in a hospital or care center. Such assistance,
provided by HHAs, can be obtained for a variety of conditions ranging from
chronic care to ambulatory help needed after a bad accident. However, HHAs
cannot just be hired on and employed as a contractor is employed to paint a
room or fix a broken fence. HHAs must be certified within their state per a
government regulatory program before they can perform any assistance
services. Once these HHA certifications are in place and the aide is licensed,
then he or she can be hired by private parties as well as care programs or
medical insurance programs.
Given the aging population of Baby Boomers across the country, the demand for
HHAs is not likely to diminish in the foreseeable future. As the largest generation in decades ages into retirement and senior
status, medical ailments common to all people aging as well as specific conditions are creating a significant need for home
medical assistance. HHAs are in such demand in some areas that training and certification may even be free to the applicant.
However, without certification, an aide cannot legally practice any assistance in all 50 states; doing otherwise could get such
a person arrested The bottom line then: get certified.
When a Home Health Aide is needed
Home health aide services include actual nursing support, therapy and rehabilitation assistance, occupational or speech
help, social work, and home ambulatory assistance. There are a number of other specific activities that can occur as well,
depending on a patient's need.
Home Health Aides are typically needed where hospital or clinical care
is too expensive for the patient, or personal relatives are unable to
provide the patient's care themselves. This may be for a variety of
reasons such as physical distance (families are typically spread over
multiple states and cities), inability to physically perform the care
functions needed (common when relatives are close to the same age
as seniors), personal reasons (relatives may already feel fully
committed with current demands), or other causes.
HHAs can be provided at clinical support locations, care facilities, as
well as personal residences. Typical activities can be very personal for
the patients involved, including personal hygiene and grooming care,
physical movement of the patient from bed to seat or wheelchair,
transportation of the patient from home to destinations such as a
doctor's office, basic cooking, and cleaning. Bandage changing,
medication distribution, and catheter cleaning tend to be common
medical procedures as well expected of aides. The aide may also be
responsible for basic monitoring of the patient's health and reporting it
to a nurse or doctor as well. Because of these varied duties and roles, HHAs must go through medical training and licensing as well as background
checks to make sure such applicants do not pose a threat to vulnerable patients.