Home health care workers are people in charge of caring for the sick, disabled and elderly in their communities. The work is usually performed within the homes or residential facilities of the people receiving care. The positions are widely available in every city, town, and suburb around the country. In fact, wherever there are people, home health care workers are and will continue to be in demand.
There are a number of reasons that people choose to seek employment in the home health care industry. Some people are attracted by the chance to help others in a very direct, even intimate way. Other health workers like the idea that you can get a well-paying job even without having a high school diploma. And, some like the flexible work hours that the position entails.
It is a good thing that many people are interested in working in this industry. The demand for health care workers continues to grow, given that the population continues to age. There will always be elderly people who need care. And, there will always be people who are mentally or physically unable to care for themselves.
If you are considering working in this field, here are 5 things you should know:
1. Know the difference between home health aides and home care aides
There are various types of positions within this industry. However, in general terms, the two primary types of jobs you can get are that of home health aide and home (or personal) care aide.
Home health aides usually work for certified health agencies that receive government funding and therefore must comply with certain rules in order to continue to receive that funding. These workers are under the management of a nurse or other medical professional, and they provide some limited health services.
Meanwhile, home care aides work for various private and public agencies. They are supervised by a social worker or other non-medical managers. While they do receive supervision from time to time, most of the work they perform on a day to day basis is done on their own.
2. Understand the benefits
People who appreciate flexible, non-standard work hours will often choose this type of position: in fact, you may care for the same person for months or years. But, it is more likely that you will travel around town each day, caring for 2, 3 or more people on any given day. The other, most obvious, benefit is the ability to really make a difference in someone’s life in a way that you cannot do with many other types of jobs.
3. Know that this type of work is not for everyone
Working in this industry can be very physically and mentally demanding. For example, you can find yourself heading home each day with a sore back due to having to lift the person you care for into bed. Also, the people for whom you care may not always be friendly or in a good mood.
4. You must receive training
You must receive training and pass a test to prove that you are competent to work in this field. Most training is “on the job training” and is conducted by registered nurses or other medical practitioners. Training does not exceed 75 hours in most cases.
5. You do not need a high school diploma to get a job
Never got your high school diploma? No worries! Working as a home health aide or home care aide does not require that you have one. Just complete the training and pass the competency test and you will be on your way!