Home healthcare is growing due to the increase in population of elderly, many of whom need in-home assistance but otherwise can live on their own or wish not to live in a nursing home. Home healthcare may also be provided to patients who are in hospice care.
While the majority of home health patients are geriatric, home healthcare also provides care for younger patients who are ill or incapacitated in some way.
As in other healthcare settings, nurses and physicians are needed in home healthcare. Some doctors and nurses work part time in a home health setting in addition to working in another setting such as an office or hospital. Others may work full-time in home health.
In addition to doctors and nurses, one of the most common careers in home health is a home healthcare aide. Additionally, some administrative staff are needed to help manage the home health services and patients. One such administrative role is as a placement agent or account manager for a home healthcare agency, to help coordinate in-home care for home-bound patients.
Home health aides assist patients with a variety of basic tasks ranging from preparing meals, dressing, bathing, and any other activities with which the person may need assistance.
If you are interested in working as a home healthcare aide, you can work directly for the family of a patient, or you can work through an agency that will find assignments for you. There are benefits and disadvatages to each.
Many home health aides enjoy working directly as an employee of the patient's family, because it allows more freedom such as the ability to share a meal with the patient or help with medications. Agency rules are more restrictive due to liability.
However, the advantage to working as a home health care aide through a home healthcare agency is that the agency will do the legwork for you in finding work assignments.
Many home health aides are trained in basic first aid and CPR. A home health agency may also assist with training or arranging training if needed. Some home health aides may be trained as a CNA as well.