Thinking about a home health aide career, but not sure if it’s the right move for you? Home health aides are one of the unsung heroes of the medical field. They provide frontline care for patients who struggle with everyday activities. Also, they greatly improving both their patients’ lives and their families’ lives. Here are eight reasons to become a home health aide that will make you want to put on your scrubs and get to work.
A home health aide and a patient’s quality of life.
We take being able to complete everyday tasks for granted until we can’t anymore. Many home health patients, especially seniors, struggle with not being able to do basic things they never had to think about before. Such as getting dressed or making themselves lunch. As a home health aide, you will be improving these patients’ quality of life. You’ll also be providing companionship and social interaction. Which is beneficial since the patients often become isolated due to mobility issues. In fact, your presence can help improve their health, these associates biomarkers of health.
A home health aide makes a difference
The work you do doesn’t just impact the patient you’re caring for. But the entire ecosystem of support around them, and you can have positive ripple effects far beyond your knowledge. Caregiving can wear down family members. Especially if they’re not professionally trained and/or balancing it with.
A full-time job
Caring for children
Or other responsibilities.
This burnout can compromise their performance in there daily life, put a strain on their marriage and other relationships. This can lead to health problems and otherwise negatively impact their lives. As a home health aide, you’ll help ease the burden on family caregivers and help restore some order to their lives.
You can help patients avoid institutionalization.
Many aging adults fear to leave their homes and taken to a nursing home, hospital or other facilities. Unfortunately, when caregiving at home isn’t a viable option. Families often feel like they have no other choices–and that’s where home health aides come in. Being able to stay at home and still receive professional care can be a huge relief for older adults (and, patients of any age). Getting care at home allows them to maintain a sense of normalcy and routine while keeping them safe and healthy. Aging, surgery and other medical events can take a toll, and being able to stay in the comfort of home makes a big difference.
The schedule is flexible.
While you can make a full-time career out of being a home health aide, you don’t have to. Many home health aides come to the job for the flexible schedule and its part-time opportunities. This makes being a home health aide a good option for those who are in:
Taking care of a family
Easing back into the workforce
Or balancing other commitments.
Home health aide agencies offer various scheduling options. And if you go into business for yourself working, you’ll have even more freedom to set your schedule.
A home health aide does not need that much schooling
Compared to other medical careers, becoming a home health aide requires a lot less schooling (and therefore less student debt). So it’s relatively easy to get your career started. You aren’t required to have a college degree or a high school diploma. Though some home health aides have trained as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). There are also some certifications available specifically for health home aides. However, for the most part, home health aides can train on the job by nurses or other medical staff. Home health aides who work for Medicare- or Medicaid-certified agencies must meet certain training. As well as certification standards, so check your state’s requirements.
The job outlook is good.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for home health aides will grow by a whopping 41 percent between 2016 and 2026. A much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations (7 percent). This works out to an additional 1,208,800 jobs by 2026 (yes, that’s more than a million). As the baby boomer population grows and more of the population becomes elderly. We’ll need home health aides more than ever, so don’t fret about job opportunities drying up. If anything, we won’t be able to hire enough people like home health aides rather than the other way around.
You can try out different specialties and facilities.
Home health aide work gives you a chance to explore your career options in terms of the facility as well as specialty. Home health aides work in a variety of settings, including client’s homes, group homes, and day services programs. While many home health aides do work with elderly clients, you may also be able to work with clients of other ages. Such as young children who are recovering from major surgery or adults with disabilities who need help with everyday activities. This broad range of experience can help you focus on where you want your career to go in the future. Which brings us to our next point:
It can be a stepping stone to another medical career.
Many future employers or schools in the medical field will look for evidence that you have some experience in healthcare. And being a home health aide is a relatively easy way to get entry-level experience. For example, if you think that you want to become a nurse who specializes in gerontology (taking care of the elderly), but you aren’t completely sure. Working with seniors as a home health aide can help you figure this out before you ever set foot in a school or pay a dime in tuition. Because of the close one-on-one work you do with clients. You’ll also develop great empathy and compassion, important qualities for anyone in the medical field to have.
Being a home health aide isn’t for everyone (no job is) but it can be a really fulfilling career, whether it’s for life or just for a short while. Home health aides truly make a difference every day, so grab your nursing bag and get ready to make your first client visit. Also, check out this article on the requirements of a family caregiver.
Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com. A site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys. She keeps busy interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening.