What Can Your HHA Do?

June 18, 2021

What is involved in becoming a certified home health aide? 

A home health aide is an individual who has been certified with training and a competency evaluation. The home health aide training program must be authorized by the New York State Department of Health or the New York State Department of Education. This training includes classroom training and supervised practical training, some of which must be provided in a patient care setting. 

What’s the difference between a personal care assistant (PCA) and a home health aide (HHA)?

A personal care assistant, or PCA, is an individual who provides care that includes housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, toileting, and grooming assistance. A home health aide (HHA) provides the same care that a personal care assistant would provide, but a home health aide has more advanced training and licensing regarding important signs and symptoms related to the patient’s health and wellness. 

What can your home health aide do?

A home health aide offers many levels of care and support. These can include:

  • Medication assistance

Reminders to take the correct medication at the correct time can be an important part of staying healthy. The home health aide can remind you to take your medications and bring them to you, or offer you a drink if needed. 

  • Personal Care

Assistance with personal care may be necessary. Personal care can include assistance with dressing, bathing, and toileting. Your needs and preferences will be honored. 

  • Meal Preparation

The home health aide can prepare meals as per your request, or prepare them together with you. The home health aide can assist with oversight of your specialized diet and the needs based on your age and wellness. 

  • Light housekeeping

Housekeeping can include vacuuming/mopping the floors, wiping down the counters in the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, making the beds, doing the laundry, organizing, and other light housekeeping tasks. 

  • Health Monitoring

A home health aide is trained to monitor your physical and mental condition. They will report any concerns to the clinical department at their agency so they can follow up with you. 

  • Emergencies

The home health aide has been trained to respond quickly and handle emergencies such as an accident, a heart attack or a stroke, and to get the help that is needed. 

  • Errands

The home health aide can assist with or run local errands on your behalf. You may need food shopping, prescription pick up, or other errands. 

  • Doctor Appointments

The home health aide can accompany you to your doctor appointments and can wait in the waiting room with you or accompany you to the examining room. 

  • Outings

The home health aide can accompany you to the hairdresser, nail salon, museum, movie theater, park, on a walk, or any other local outing during the hours that the home health aide is providing care. 

  • Companionship

The home health aide is at your service to provide companionship also. If you would like, you can play games, read books, listen to music, watch tv or movies, or just sit and talk. 

  • Advocacy

The home health aide can act as an advocate for you. They can assist you with staying in touch with your loved ones, call the doctor for you, or help you record important health information. The home health aide may be the first one to notice a small change in your condition and assist you in getting the help that you need. Your home health aide works under the supervision of the nurse at the agency. This nurse can be contacted to discuss any concerns or changes that may need to be addressed.  

Home health aides provide care that is hourly or live-in. 

An hourly home health aide stays with you for a set number of hours, certain days of the week. For example, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Monday through Thursday. During the hours of care, the home health aide provides one-on-one care for you and addresses your needs. 

A live-in home health aide stays with you for at least a 24 hour period, and usually several consecutive days. During this time, the home health aide will be expected to take breaks for meal time and will sleep at night, expecting that no care is needed during the sleeping hours (under usual circumstances). 

Your home health aide is at your service, on your schedule, to provide the care that is most important to you. Your preferences are paramount. They are expected to respect your choices as long as those choices don’t interfere with your health or put your life at risk. 

Home health aide support is individualized to you, and your needs and preferences.

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