Home health aides make it possible for elderly, sick or disabled people to stay at home instead of moving to a nursing home. They offer personal care to patients with bathing, using the toilet or bedpan, walking and exercising. Home health aides may also clean the home, do laundry, change beds, plan meals, shop for food and cook. Aides provide companionship for sick or elderly people who may feel isolated and lonely. If their patient has children, they may care for them when their mother or father is sick or disabled. They may also be responsible for monitoring the patient's condition by checking pulse, temperature and breathing rates and may change bandages and help patients take medicine. Some aides drive patients to doctor's appointments or other activities.
Home health aides work for private healthcare agencies, health or welfare agencies or hospitals. Some are self-employed.
Home health aides must be able to do personal care, basic cleaning and cooking chores and must be willing to act as a companion and helper to the sick or disabled. They must be certified by the State Department of Health Services, which requires 120 hours of training. This training is offered at many adult schools, community colleges and vocational schools. A high school diploma is not generally required.
Links to Additional Career Information
California Department of Health Services (916) 327-2445 www.dhs.ca.gov/lnc/cert
National Association for Home Care (202) 547-7424 www.nahc.org
California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH) (916) 641-5795 www.cahsah.org
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