Home health aides and personal care aides essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $19,910
- 2011, number of jobs: 985,230
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 69 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Less than high school
Home health aides and personal care aides; what they do:
Home health aides and personal care aides are also known as superheroes to the individuals they help. Typically, home health aides and personal care aides assist disabled, chronically ill, cognitively impaired, and elderly individuals.
Common duties performed by home health aides and personal care aides range from assisting clients in bathing and dressing to light housekeeping duties and meal planning and preparation. A home health aide career and a personal care aide career include scheduling appointments, social events, and exercise, as well as arranging transportation to and from events for a client. Perhaps the most important thing home health care providers and personal care aides do for their clients, however, is provide companionship.
Home health aides usually work for certified home health or hospice agencies receiving government funding. They are usually supervised by a nurse. Duties of a home health care worker may range from giving massages, skincare, and help with braces or artificial limbs to changing sheets and emptying bedpans.
Depending on the state laws, home health aides may also occasionally dispense medication or check their client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or healthcare practitioner.
Personal care aides often work in a client’s home and are hired directly by the client or the client’s family. Personal care aides may not provide any medical services.
Direct support professionals work with individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Their tasks typically include creating a behavior plan, helping their client find work, and teaching self-care skills.
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Home health aides and personal care aides job titles:
- Certified Nurse’s Aid (CNA)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Certified Medical Aide (CMA)
- Home Health Provider
- Habilitation Training Specialist
- Certified Home Health Aide
- Home Health Aide (HHA)
- Home Health Care Aide
- Personal Care Attendant (PCA)
- Home Health Care Provider
- Home Health Care Worker
Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides Education, Certification and License Requirements
Most home health care aides and personal care aides have a high school diploma, although no specific education requirements exist for this position. Home health aides and personal care aides typically receive on-the-job training. Some employers may require a competency evaluation prior to hire.
Some states have no training requirement for home health aides and personal care aides, but other states require a formal training from a community college, vocational school, elder care program, or home health care agency. Some states also require a background check for all home health aides and personal care aides.
Home health aides and personal care aides programs cover subjects such as:
- Reading and recording vital signs
- Cooking for special dietary needs
- Personal hygiene
- Basic safety techniques
- How to respond to an emergency
- Infection control
- Basic nutrition
Home health care aides working for an employer receiving reimbursements from Medicare or Medicaid must obtain training and pass a competency evaluation or earn a state certification.
Home health aides and personal care aides may receive certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Certification is not required, but many employers prefer to hire certified workers.
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Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides Job Outlook
Forecast: 69 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for home health aides and a 70 percent growth for personal care aides, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
The demand for services provided by home health care providers and personal care aides increases as the baby-boom generation begins needing more assistance as they age. Many elderly people prefer hiring a home health aide or personal care aide to help them at home, rather than having to move to a nursing care facility.
Traditionally a high turn over occurs with home health aides and personal care aides due to high emotional demands.
Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $19,910
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $23,090
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $17,700
- Home health care services
- Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities
- Residential mental retardation facilities
- Community care facilities for the elderly
- Vocational rehabilitation centers
- Nursing care facilities