A home health aide program trains students in how to provide patients with assistance in various daily activities such as dressing, bathing, grooming, exercise, and ambulation. Their patients are often disabled, elderly, impaired, or chronically ill. In some cases, the home health aide will provide some light housekeeping services. In some states, a HHA can take vital signs and administer some medications with the supervision of a registered health care practitioner such as a nurse. The program will train the HHA to the state's standards.
While most students have a high school diploma or a GED, most home health care programs do not require this. To enter a typical home health aide program, a student will need to find an employer who provides training or take a program through a community college. The student will learn how to care for patients in a safe, hygienic manner. The student gains knowledge on how to be part of the medical team by observing and reporting the patient's condition to medical care providers like nurses or doctors.
Most who train in a home health aide program will work with patients in their home setting. The aide will typically work for a home health care agency when dealing with private patients. Some aides find work in nursing homes or assisted living facilities as well. Without further training and education, the chances of advancement for a home health aide are very slim.
The median wages for a home health aide in 2010 was $20,500. The range of salaries started below $16,000 and went above $25,000. The wages will differ by location and by employer.
The need for a home health aide is going to grow rapidly in the next few years. With the aging population, the need for professionals to come into the home and help with patient care is growing. Between 2010 and 2020, the need for a HHA is going to grow by over 70%. That is far and above many other occupations, even in the medical field. This field can help a person enter the health care field. Further education will open up other doors.
The role of a home health aide can be quite rewarding. An HHA usually works with a limited number of patients at a time. Sometimes it is only one patient.