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What Does a Home Health Aide Do?

Home health aides perform some health-related services, but also help patients with day-to-day tasks.
Home health aides provide routine personal care to the elderly or disabled.
Home health aide workers may provide physical therapy to the elderly.
Article Details
  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 June 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A home health aide is a professional who helps elderly or disabled people who are living in their own homes instead of nursing homes or health care facilities. Home health aides also sometimes work with people who are recovering from illnesses, injuries, or surgeries. The key purpose of home health aides is to help people recover or live in a safe, healthy way in their own homes.

It is most common for home health aides to work with elderly or disabled people. In these cases, one home health aide may work with the same person for multiple years. When home health aides work with people who are expected to recover completely from an injury, surgery, or illness, the time that they spend working with one patient may be much shorter. In these cases, a home health aide may only work with a patient for a few weeks. One of the reasons that home health aides are not often called in to help with a patient who needs short-term care is that loved ones are often able to cover a patient’s needs during the at-home recovery.

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The key purpose of a home health aide is to provide a patient with routine personal care and housekeeping. While many people have friends and family members who are willing to help them with such tasks, it is not always possible for loved ones to offer the kind of continuous care that is required. Home health aides, for example, will often help patients to get in and out of the bath, groom themselves, and dress. Home health aides may also prepare meals for patients.

It is important to note that home health aides are not meant to take over the responsibilities of doctors and nurses. The aides do regularly perform some health-related services. However, these services are always carried out according to the indications of a doctor or nurse.

Home health aides may record a patient’s vital information such as pulse rate, respiration rate, and temperature. They may also administer medication, change bandages, and provide skin care. If a home health aide has the necessary training, he or she might also work with a patient’s medical equipment, such as a ventilator.

Home health agencies usually employ registered nurses, physical therapists, and social workers to oversee the work of the home health aides that they employ. In the instance that a patient’s condition changes, the home health aide will report to the staff at the agency who will work with the patient and the patient’s doctor to reassess his or her needs.

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