Under the direction of nursing or therapy staff, home health aides provide health-related services for elderly, convalescent, or disabled persons so they are able to live in their own homes instead of in a health facility.
Home health aides check pulse, temperature, and respiration; help with simple prescribed exercises; keep patients’ rooms neat; and help patients move to and from bed, bathe, dress, and groom. Occasionally, they change non-sterile dressings, give massages and alcohol rubs, or assist with braces and artificial limbs. Experienced home health aides also may assist with medical equipment such as ventilators.
Most home health aides work with elderly or disabled persons who need more extensive care than family or friends can provide. Some help discharged hospital patients who have relatively short-term needs.
The personal care support services of the home health aide are available to all agency patients.
Insurance coverage for the service is dependent on the need for a qualifying skilled service such as nursing or physical therapy, but patients may always choose to pay for aide service. Agency nurses and therapists evaluate all agency patients for the need for personal care assistance.
Home health aides are trained in infection control and universal precautions.
• Hands-on personal care services for the patient
• Assisting in activities of daily living including:
- shampoo and grooming
- preparation and/or serving of light meals
- light housekeeping
- home exercise
• Performing selected health-related tasks or procedures with specific training provided and documented by a registered nurse or registered therapist
• Promoting mental alertness of the patient through conversation and participation in appropriate activities
• Reminding the patient to take normally self-administered medications when prescribed
• Planning, preparing, and/or serving light meals
The home health aide also provides observation and follow-up:
• Observes, records and reports significant changes in status of the patient and/or family to the primary-care nurse and/or supervisor.
• Participates in case conferences.