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Home Heath Care Attendant

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Home health care is the service provided to a patient in a home environment or setting. This is normally done on a part time basis. However, if need be Medicare may come in to cover the services if skilled care is urgently needed. The services are provided by a home health agency which is licensed to do so. Home health care attendant jobs may include physical therapy and occupational therapy, skilled nursing and also speech therapy. It sometimes includes assisting elderly people with day to day activities such as eating, bathing, cleaning, dressing, and giving oral medication among others.

A home care attendant is a person who has been trained to provide personal care and treatment of some ailments as directed by a qualified and professional staff. This may include services like helping the elderly in exercising according to the prescriptions given by a professional staff, dressing and bathing the sick or elderly. A home health care attendant helps the disabled, the convalescents and the elderly to get medical attention from their home instead of being in a health center. A home health care attendant gives a person the skills of checking sick persons or an elderly pulse rate, respiration rate and temperature. The most experienced home health care attendant also helps with medical equipments e.g. ventilators. This helps a patient with a respiratory illness to breathe.

Nature of the Work



The working conditions for a person working in the home health care attendant jobs may vary from full time to part time. Home health care attendants spend most of their time standing and also walking from one patient to another. Home health care attendant jobs may make a person go to a patient or an elderly home for several months or may even progress to years, depending on the condition of the patient. Most home health care attendants may be working with more than one patient; therefore they have the ability to multitask.

Normally, most home health care attendants work alone with minimum interactions from the supervisor. After being instructed in detail about what they are supposed to do, the home health care attendant is given the free will to carry out his or her responsibility uninterrupted.

Home health care attendant jobs make one susceptible to injuries from overexertion, especially in circumstances where a patient needs to be lifted with a mechanical lifting machine or device which is only available in health institutions.

Qualifications

In order to work as a home health care attendant, one does not necessarily have to have a high school diploma. The home health care attendants are mainly trained on the job by qualified and professional nurses or other experienced home health care attendants. In some cases the patients may require that the services offered to him or her be done according to their prescription thus becoming the attendant's adviser. The requirement for federal law is for a home healthcare attendant to pass a test of competency covering diverse topics such as communication, techniques for safe transfer of a patient, grooming and personal hygiene, developmental, physical and emotional characteristics of a patient, basic body functions, emergency procedure, basic infection-control procedure, maintenance of a healthy environment, and documentation care provided to a patient on his or her status.

Training

A home health care attendant can be trained before sitting for the competency test. Federal government suggests that in working in a home healthcare attendant job, one needs to have gone through some practical and classroom training with a qualified and professional nurse for at least 75 hours. The centre for Medicare and Medicaid's services demand that the employing agency offering the training to home healthcare attendants must meet the standards laid down. The national association for home care and hospice also gives voluntary certificates to those working in home health care attendant jobs. In some states, a home health care attendant is supposed to be licensed in order to fully qualify as one.

Newly employed home health care attendants may be trained by their employers. The training may continue for one or several more months. They may also gain some skills from attending on-job training, seminars, and workshops.

Home health care attendants must be in good health. In line with this, a physical examination for illnesses like tuberculosis may be required. One also should not have any criminal background when looking for a job as a home healthcare attendant. Those aspiring to join home health care attendant jobs must possess among others the following qualities; understanding, patience, tactfulness, emotional stability and they should be dependable and have the willingness to serve and help people. The ability to work as part of a team is an added advantage in addition to good communication skills and the ability to do routine and repetitive work.

Advancement

Gaining experience as a home health care attendant gives a person an opportunity to pursue a health care career. However, the opportunity to advance in the home health care attendant jobs is limited unless a person goes through additional health training. The following are the health care occupations for former home health care attendants; registered nurse, medical assistant and or licensed practical nurse. Working as a home health care attendant may act as an entry- level job for a high school and college student.

Earnings

Home health care attendants are mainly employed by nursing and residential care facilities, home health care services, and social assistance agencies. According to a research done in May 2004, median earnings of a home health care attendant per hour were USD $8.81. The middle 50% earnings were between USD $7.58 and USD $10.38 per hour. The lowest ten % earned less than USD $6.25 while the highest 10% earned more than USD $12.52 hourly.

The more experience and responsibility a home health care attendant gets, the more salary he or she earns. The earnings for home health care attendant jobs are normally gained from the work done in the patient's home. Home health care attendants jobs are expected to be in high demand, due to an increased demand for home care services to the elderly and the improved medical technology for residential or in – home treatment.
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