Home health aides can provide care for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments, or age-related issues. These people live in their own homes instead of nursing facilities, hospitals, and the like.
Most of the time, a home health aide’s duties differ from patient to patient. No, one person will have the same needs, which means that aids must be adaptable and capable of handling various environments and situations.
Some aides will be tasked with monitoring a patient’s condition or managing their home treatment. Others might be charged with teaching patients how to adjust to their current conditions. There are many different tasks and responsibilities that aides are entrusted to complete.
However, there are a few essential skills that every home health aide must have, aside from all that. Here are four essential skills you need to be a good aide:
Basic Medical Knowledge
The very first and most important quality you must develop is your medical knowledge. While health aides aren’t necessarily expected to function as nurses or doctors, medical knowledge is essential so that they can help patients. The basics should be covered—first aid, conditions, familiarity with treatments, medication, and so on.
To provide the best care, aides must know how to take vital signs, change wound dressings, and do other basic medical tasks. From time to time, depending on the patient and their needs, you might also need to go with them to run errands.
Some examples of the kinds of medical skills and knowledge a home health aide might need are the following:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia care
- Basic care services
- Changing simple, unsterile wound dressings
- CNA (certified nursing assistant) certification
- Coping with bodily fluids and excretions
- CPR certification
- First aid certification
- HHA (home health aide) certification
- Learning and remembering medical and pharmaceutical terms
- Taking temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure
The quality of care hinges on how good your relationship is with patients. Apart from making your job easier, establishing a relationship with the patient can help them feel more comfortable and at ease in your presence. Both of you need to trust each other and communicate.
And it’s not just the patient you must communicate with. Their family will need updates from you, and you will need valuable information that only they can provide. For this to work, everyone has to be able to work together and communicate. As the health aide, it’s not your responsibility alone, but it would be helpful if you could get the ball rolling.
Essentially, you must be a good and honest speaker as well as a good listener.
A few communication skills you need for the job are the following:
- The ability to read, write, and speak effectively
- Active listening to family members
- Communicating medical information to family members after doctor’s visits
- Interviewing family members and patients to assess preferences
- Listening to patients
- Writing notes and emails about clients
Strength and Stamina
Your responsibilities as a health aide will require that you possess a certain amount of strength. The patients you’ll be caring for will vary in age, size, and weight. Your daily tasks will probably include some type of heavy lifting, whether it’s objects or the patients themselves.
A few examples of the physical tasks you might be required to do are the following:
- Driving a car (and having reliable transportation)
- Safely transferring patients from bed to a chair, wheelchair, or toilet
- Helping patients in the shower
- Lifting clients
- Transporting clients to appointments
- Turning patient in bed
Being a health aide might be unpredictable at first. You won’t know how everything will go until you’re there and doing the job. What you can be sure of are the skills that any good health aide must-have. These are only a few of the many qualities that make an excellent aide, but they’re some of the most important. Remember that your work with the client helps make their lives easier, and while the job might always be easy, it’s worth it.
Medical Career Academy is dedicated to providing each student with the highest quality education in several different health care fields. If you’re looking for a school to start your journey, we would love to have you. We hope to aid you in your journey to become medical professionals.