For those who are interested in caring for at-risk populations like the elderly or people with disabilities, becoming a home health aide is an attractive career choice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 3.6 million home health aides employed across the country.
In addition, the job outlook for these professionals is one of the best in the United States, expected to grow by 25% between 2021 and 2031.
While this career is growing rapidly, it’s important to know that it’s not for everyone. Being a home health aide can be incredibly rewarding, but is also a difficult job. Here are seven skills for a home health aide that are absolutely necessary if you’re interested in this type of work.
1. Time Management
Perhaps one of the most important skills of a home health aide is time management. This is because home health aides are responsible for the daily care of clients.
That care can range anywhere from making sure they take their medications on time to doing meal preparation.
Because of these responsibilities, being late can be dangerous to many patients, whether that’s because they have no one to help them with a difficult task or because they don’t receive the treatment they need to stay healthy.
2. Interpersonal Communication
Empathy is a big part of a home health aide’s job. Many of the patients you’ll encounter will have debilitating issues that prevent them from performing basic tasks.
For them, it can be frustrating and depressing. By making genuine connections with patients, listening to their concerns, and respecting them, you can make their day better, even if it’s in a marginal way.
The situations that home health aides deal with are often challenging. For example, those with dementia may forget who you are, and patients with physical limitations may take a long time to get moving.
In these situations, few home health aide skills are as useful as patience. Taking the time to remain calm and collected will go a long way in making the process a little easier.
Of all of the skills for a home health aide, organization is one that’s often overlooked. In the moments that you’re taking care of a patient, it’s important to remember how their physical space affects their health.
Even tidying up a small area of their home can help them with mobility or cleanliness. In addition, it helps you get around in case of medical emergencies.
5. Medical Knowledge
It should come as no surprise that medical knowledge is absolutely necessary to successfully care for clients.
While becoming a home health aide doesn’t always require a college education, basic medical knowledge is non-negotiable. This means having basic certifications in things like CPR and First Aid.
In addition, home health aides may find themselves:
- Giving patients medication,
- Changing wound dressings or
- Taking vital signs.
Many of these things can be learned in on-the-job training, first-aid certification, or even online home health aide courses.
6. Physical Fitness
When working with some patients, a home health aide may need some physical fitness. This is especially true in cases where you are helping a patient with physical limitations.
For example, they may need help moving furniture in their home. Or you may need to help them to their feet.
Regardless of what their condition is, it’s important to remain physically active so that you’re prepared for anything.
7. Stress Management
While many skills needed to be a home health aide focus on dealing with compliant patients, other situations may not be as easy.
Unfortunately, some patients are reluctant to receive treatment and may refuse to follow instructions. In these scenarios, it’s easy to get stressed.
For this reason, it’s important that you’re not only firm but also good at managing your stress. This means being authoritative in a compassionate manner.
Still Considering a Home Health Aide Career? Enroll in Stratford’s Course Today!
Interested in learning more skills for a home health aide career? At Stratford Career Institute, we offer a comprehensive introductory course on home health care.
We cover all of the basics from medical terminology and patient communication to different home care systems and client care. To learn more, enroll today or contact us for more information.
Become a Home Health Aide
Stratford Career Institute offers an affordable online training program to help you get started.